March 1, 2022
NAIROBI – Fresh avocados produced in Kenya will have access to China after rigorous pest risk analysis was carried out by plant health inspection and quarantine authorities of the two countries.
Speaking in Nairobi on Friday, Theophilus Mutui, managing director of the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, said the two countries agreed in April 2019 that Kenya could export only frozen avocados to China because of the prevalence of fruit flies in Kenya.
Now, after a rigorous pest risk analysis carried out by the services and its counterpart in China that lasted four years, it has been agreed that fresh avocados from Kenya can be exported to China, Mutui said.
The analysis aimed to identify quarantine pests of concern to China needing to be controlled before export. China relies on imported avocados to meet its demand for the fruit.
Kenya is one of the biggest producers and exporters of avocados in Africa, with major destinations including the United Arab Emirates, Finland and France.
Last year Kenya exported 84 million kilograms of avocados, the country’s Horticultural Crops Directorate said, and this figure is bound to rise with the new arrangement.
Kenya has gone to great lengths to ensure that all fresh avocados comply with Chinese phytosanitary laws and regulations, health and safety standards and are free of pests of concern to China, Mutui said.
“We shall carry out periodic field inspection, keep monitoring records of quarantine pests as well as pest management measures implemented, as well as carry out phytosanitary treatment of fresh avocados by fumigation before export,” Mutui said.
All avocado producers and exporters planning to export fresh avocados to China must have their farms, packaging plants and fumigation treatment facilities officially registered by the government, he said.
They are also required to apply good agricultural practices and keep good sanitary conditions as well as implement integrated pest management programs, including pest monitoring, chemical and biological control and any other pest control operations.