Booming avocado export business in Kenya
Kenya exported avocados worth over Ksh 14 Billion during the first ten months of 2020.
Kenya's avocado export business in 2020 has surpassed the volume of export realized in 2019 pointing to a robust performance for the crop which has lifted the performance of the horticulture industry.
When it comes to avocados, Kenya's export volumes have grown bigger from 2019 after withstanding the storm of COVID-19 which had heavily interrupted the international supply chains. According to the Association of Fresh Produce Exporters, Kenya exported 59,000 tons of avocado in 2019 that was worth Ksh 10.6 billion ($100.6). While in 2020, up to the end of October, Kenya exported 68,000 tons of avocado valued at Ksh. 14 billion.
Kenya is ranked number 8 globally in avocado production. The growth in increased avocado production in Kenya is mainly due to:
1. Optimum climatic conditions that allow for the seamless growth of the crop. The equatorial climate allows Kenya to produce avocado nearly throughout the year. Avocado production season starts in February and ends in October of every year.
2. Intensive investment in the sector by the government and the private sector. With further investments intended to be done in the coming months, Kenya could climb the ladder and get a higher ranking in the coming years.
Ban on avocado export business till February 2021
Kenya Association of Fresh Produce Exporters announced on Friday 13th November 2020 that the season for avocado export came to a close on November 1st until February 2021 when the export shall start again. However, farmers in some selected regions who still have maturing fruits on the farm will be allowed to export subject to thorough inspection by the horticultural crops directorate.
Also Watch: Apple farming in Kenya - Wambugu Apples
The ban on the export of avocado fruits between the month of November to February is imposed in order to reduce the incidences of farmers harvesting unmatured crop which could ruin the reputation of the quality of Kenya's avocado in the export market.
Kenya is ranked number 8 globally in avocado production.
In 2020, the horticulture and avocado export business in Kenya has had mixed fortunes owing to the CIVID -19 pandemic. The closure of supermarkets in Europe especially France saw Kenya's horticultural produce export go down in big numbers. In other export markets, cut flowers, which constitute Kenya's largest horticultural export business, was considered non-essential commodity which caused a huge decline in demand.
Nevertheless, the horticulture sector in Kenya is poised for further growth post-COVID-19. The Association of Kenya Fresh Produce Exporters forecasts this growth at a 10% increase annually.