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Kenyan avocado exports taste of things to come with expanded market

By OTIATO OPALI in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-04 09:35

Fresh Kenyan avocado exports to China officially commenced on Tuesday with the flagging off of the first consignment from the capital Nairobi. The ceremony was attended by senior government officials, diplomats and industry executives.

Kenya became the first African country to export fresh avocados to China in a move set to further boost economic ties between the two countries. This was after Beijing opened its doors to fresh fruit from 15 Kenyan firms to hit the vast Chinese market.

David Osiany, chief administrative secretary for Kenya's Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, said by exporting fresh avocados to China, Kenya's foreign exchange earnings were set to spike, and the country's economic vitality would also be unleashed.

"The export of fresh avocados to China is a monumental feat that will boost our economy and benefit key players across the avocado value chain including farmers," Osiany said.

"This great move affirms our commitment and desire to strengthen our friendship and cooperation that is aimed at enhancing and strengthening our trade and the economic relationship existing between our country Kenya and our wonderful partner China," he added.

The export of fresh avocados to China follows a January signing of two protocols to facilitate bilateral trade, mainly for the exports of avocados and aquatic products. The protocols were inked by Kenya's Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian.

Zhang Yijun, minister counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya who attended the ceremony, said Kenya's fresh avocado exports to China have huge potential. He said it only took half a year since the protocol was signed to have more Kenyan products entering China.

Huge potential

Zhang also expressed satisfaction for the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, which has been facilitating the process, and expressed optimism that more avocado growers will join in.

"Kenya is the sixth-largest producer in the world and the first in Africa. China's demand for avocados is still increasing. Kenya's main season can make up for the off-season of other countries in South America. Thus, Kenya's avocados will meet the demand. China welcomes more and more good-quality avocados," Zhang said.

Sunripe Vertical Agro, an exporter of fresh and frozen agricultural products in Kenya, has commended the breakthrough to get the fruits to China.

"What we have achieved as the business community, the government and the private sector, is unbelievable. China has big cities, the tier-one cities and the populations are phenomenal and that is where our avocados are going to go. In each city, there are five to 11 markets," Hasit Shah, the firm's managing director, said.

Grace Muthoni Karanja, a team leader of an avocado farm, agreed by saying that Kenyan farmers are very excited to have the opportunity to have a partnership with China because it gives hope to farmers.

"We are very happy that the China market has opened up, because that means that it is giving us hope that this is the right industry," she said.

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