Small scale farmers may fail to cash in on Kenya-China avocado deal

Hass avocadoes to be exported into China.

Despite President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping inking a trade deal last month that will see Kenya become the first African country to export hass avocadoes into China, small scale Kenyan farmers may fail to capitalize on the arrangement.

In order to export the avocadoes into China local farmers will have to meet certain demands set by the Chinese government such as peeling the avocadoes and freezing them ahead of export.

This will require the farmers to invest in machines and cold rooms for peeling and freezing the fruit.

In a news report by the Business Daily, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the body tasked with ensuring that the avocadoes exported into China meet the specific requirements, revealed that small scale farmers in the country may lack the financial muscle to invest in the aforementioned facilities.

“Most small-scale farmers cannot afford to sell their avocados to China but they can still sell them locally to other established firms that make avocado products,” said KEPHIS Managing Director Esther Kimani in the news report by the Business Daily.

Ms. Kimani similarly revealed that the Chinese were adamant on having the fruits frozen before export because they are wary of the side effects fruit flies have on Kenyan grown avocadoes.

Kephis similarly revealed that failure to meet the set demands will lead to a ban of the produce from the Chinese market that is home to approximately 1.4 billion people.

“If we do not comply, China will suspend the exports; however, continuous non-compliance will lead to a total ban,” Ms. Kimani added in the news report.

Ever since 2012, Kenya has been pushing to have its avocadoes gain entry into the expansive Chinese market. The popularity of the fruit has soared around the world in recent years due to increased awareness of its health benefits.

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