Cold chain infrastructure poses big challenge to exporters

Kenya: Avocado exports to China still not gathering steam

According to Benjamin Tito, director, Horticulture Crops Directorate under the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Kenya’s export market of frozen avocados to China is yet to gather speed, as most exporters have been unable to meet the stringent requirements to enjoy the Asian market. Tito stated that in 2020, Kenya was only able to ship a single container of 20-foot tons of ripe frozen avocados.

In April 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping signed an agreement that would allow the export of frozen avocado. This would help control the fruit fly pest which is common in Kenya. Tito explained that the deal required export of frozen avocados at a temperature of between -7o to -15o Celsius. He said the cold chain infrastructure is posing a big challenge to many exporters.

By the end of that year, only one out of 100 firms had met the export requirements set by the Chinese government. Tito said this market is yet to pick up as the regulations are tough for many of the exporters because it calls for huge investment.


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