Kenyan avocados had a solid year in 2021. One exporter states their exports of avocados grew by 25 per cent compared to the previous year. However, logistical challenges did come up, as freight rates and a lack of container space caused a certain level of uncertainty.
2021 has been a positive year for Kenyan fresh produce exporter Keitt Group, says operations and commercial director Dipresh Devraj: “This past year for Keitt Group has been a positively uplifting year where we achieved a 25% growth in avocado exports, as compared to the previous years where the pandemic hindered operations. Although these challenges are still evident, business operations adapted to their new ‘normal’.”
Although the avocado season was successful, there were logistical challenges that the company needed to deal with, Devraj explains. “The avocado season has seen a great year, despite Kenya going through a low crop year. As a result of the pandemic, the frequency of flights reduced and resulted in capacity constraints. This caused severe challenges with a ripple effect on the freight rates rising substantially. Encompassed within the space and freight challenges, this caused a certain level of uncertainty within the industry, especially during the peak season when the produce was available for export.”
Beside all these challenges Keitt Group opened their new packhouse in Kenol, making this the largest avocado packhouse in east and sub-Saharan Africa, Devraj says: “This enabled us to process greater volumes. These volumes are attributed to the success of our ‘Home of Avocado Farmers’ initiative which has reached to over 5,000 small and medium holders, a number that continues to grow to date.”
During the recently concluded annual awards ceremony held by the Kenya Avocado Society for Kenya, Keitt Group was awarded the ‘Largest Exporter’ and ‘Largest Orchard’ awards. The Managing Director, Mr. Asif Amin was awarded the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award for his service and contribution to the Kenyan avocado industry.
“Since 2021 was a success for Keitt Group, our main objective in 2022 is to focus on sustainability through three key enablers; Digitalization, Strength in Talent and People and Technological development to spur innovation and transformation in operations and across our supply chain. As far as business is concerned, we are venturing into new markets while diversifying our portfolio through value addition in the form of exporting crude avocado oil.” Devraj concludes.