NAIROBI-- The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) is not taking chances after securing the South African market for Kenyan avocadoes after ten years of negotiations to re-open that market.
It says Kenyan exporters wishing to ship avocadoes to South Africa will have to register, secure approval and have their processes audited by it in order to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the South African authorities.
Last year Kenya exported 461 tonnes of avocadoes worth seven billion shillings (about 70 million US dollars) with the figure expected to further grow after the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) secured the South African market after a decade-long ban.
Kenya lost the South African avocado market because of infestations of the fruit fly after various studies found the quarantine effect was negligible under standard export conditions. Since the ban came into effect, Kenya had been holding talks with the South Africa authorities to lift the ban, with inspectors from South Africa regularly visiting Kenya to assess the country's progress in addressing the fruit fly.
The KEPHIS says that it has been spearheading the production and marketing of avocado to other markets as the fruit, particularly the Hass variety, is in demand internationally for its taste, oil content, texture and size.
The inspectorate plans to closely monitor shipments to ensure that what is exported meet the standards and expectations of the South African market. Avocado exporters will have their processes audited.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Kenya is the second largest avocado producer in Africa after South Africa and seventh globally with an average avocado production of 191,000 tonnes annually.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK