New export rules to lock out small-scale avocado exporters

In Summary

• Kenya Private Sector Alliance has said small-scale farmers and exporters need to integrate with large companies to export avocados to China.

 

• Deputy chief executive Rachel Muthoga said new protocols to avocado armers and exporters to China will only allow frozen avocado at -30 degrees Celsius or below for at least 30 minutes after removal on non-edible peels and seed.

Avocado farming
Avocado farming
Image: FILE

Small-scale farmers and exporters will need to integrate with large companies to export avocados to China, this is according to the Kenya Private Sector Alliance .

Deputy chief executive Rachel Muthoga said some of the new export requirements like the need to access cooling plants would be expensive to small scale farmers and dealers.

“Small-scale farmers are not able to export small quantities of their produce. It is therefore important to become tied to large companies or build a Sacco to access the same,” Muthoga said. 

Muthoga said the companies should be in a similar value chain or financial institutions to ensure consistent production.

New protocols to exporters and farmers of avocado to China will only allow frozen avocado at -30 degrees Celsius or below for at least 30 minutes after removal on non-edible peels and seed.

The product is to be packed and transported at -18 degrees Celsius.

In the rules set by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), farms to export frozen avocados have to be registered, approved and monitored by Kephis or its authorized agent.

This is aimed aimed at  ensuring compliance to Good Agricultural Practice and Integrated Pest Management to minimise or avoid the occurrence of pests.

 “The avocados should be from farms that only use the approved list of chemicals,” Kephis said.

Produce shall be packed in materials with details on name and address of processing plant and exporter, net weight, shelf date and date of packaging.

The rules may strain Kenyan market into raising its ranks in export quantities and revenue with other global growers.

Kenya is ranked seventh out of 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of avocados in 2017.

According to World’s Top Exports, the country exported Sh7.88 billion ($78 million) worth of avocado produce representing a 1.3 per cent global market share.

The fastest-growing avocado exporters in the year were Mexico worth $2.9 billion and the Netherlands worth $803.6 million representing 48.5 per cent and 13.4 per cent share respectively.

Similarly, a suspended draft dairy regulation 2019 in March had set policies restricting direct sell of raw milk before undergoing pasteurisation.

Had it been passed into law,  it would only allow cooperatives, registered companies and farmers registered by the Kenya Dairy Board sell their produce.

“These are challenges some of the farmers that may hinder success to their capacity,” she said.

Kepsa is conducting research to guide in formation of an SME Policy Index to be used as a year- to -year advocacy tool for the sector.