The effect of the global pandemic is still affecting many in the fresh produce industry. Despite this, South African based company Afrex has said that their decision to open an export office in Kenya is paying off. They are filling the loss of business that was experienced in South Africa.
“We have expanded the number of hectares where farms grow crops exclusively for Afrex to export. New crops like micro herbs, chilies, and a vast range of edible flowers are now grown under contract. It is our strategic policy to keep on expanding exclusive growing contracts in the future,” explains Etienne Taitz, co-owner of the company.
Afrex has its own facilities in both the Cape Town and Johannesburg International airports and packs a large percentage of products that are supplied in bulk to ensure a top-quality product for export. In Kenya, Afrex has its own office at the JKIA International airport in Nairobi.
Packhouse in Johannesburg
“Our herb business from Kenya has been compromised due to high freight rates, and on top of these difficulties, we are battling against a very poor cool chain in the logistics of this product. Growers, no doubt, will be affected by this in the future.
Photo: Basil in hothouse
We will look for solutions to solve the cool chain problem, but this will certainly not be a walk in the park. One of our major efforts to overcome these difficulties is to market a specially grown crop of basil for the pesto industry. This product is specially grown so that there is more leaf than stem.
Specially grown basil for pesto
Afrex’s South African company has re-established itself in the market after the Covid period, where sales were down due to the extreme logistic obstacles.
“Our edible flower department is beginning to settle down once more, and at present, we have good quantities available for export. This product will certainly up-grade salads and food from starters to the main course and then finally put the cherry on the cake! All this to beautify our customers’ deserts. Our baby veg department is doing very well, and despite the difficult logistics, we are up in sales compared to 2019.”
Edible violas and bellis daisies
John emphasizes that air freight is by far the most difficult challenge that the company faces on a daily basis.
“The key to solving this problem is to be consistent in supply and quantity while being as efficient as possible as to how our products are loaded and delivered to the airline.”
Herbox 12 -full air pallet Herbox6 – for less than a pallet