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State issues notice to lift avocado ban

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 11:00 | By
Avocado. PHOTO/Pexels.
Avocado. PHOTO/Pexels.

The government has issued a notice lifting a two-month suspension it imposed last November to prevent the harvest of immature avocados.

This after the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) issued a notice to reopen the market next month allowing horticulture traders to resume  export of the same.

The decision follows a survey conducted by the directorate based at the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) in the second week of January 2024, aimed at assessing maturity indices and volumes in major production zones.

Maturity concerns

HCD acting director Christine Chezaro said in a notice to media houses that authorities had found out that avocado fruits had not matured properly, leading to the extension of restrictions on avocado shipments by sea.

However, the directorate has since noted improvements in the maturity of avocado fruits in key production zones. Kenya is among the top 10 producers of avocado in the world and the absence of fruits piled pressure on its price in the global market.

“The directorate has now established improvement in maturity of the avocado fruits in the major production zones and therefore directs as follows. The harvesting of avocado for export will be opened on 1st March 2024,” said Christine Chesaro.

She emphasized that all export produce will be subject to inspection by AFA-HCD inspectors to authenticate their maturity level and ensure it complies with the set standards.

The directorate has asked exporters to apply for inspection at least three days before shipment to allow thorough assessment.

The export of Hass and Fuerte varieties will continue but limited to a maximum size code 20 (1849) 4. All exporters are required to submit a list of their horticultural produce marketing agents (HPMA) or suppliers before February 24.

Exporters are required to strictly transact with marketing agents with valid registration permits and adhere to the packaging standards.

“Exporters or their agents found transporting Avocado without crates or on open pick-up trucks (or Probox vehicles) contrary to the Horticulture Regulations shall be penalized,” she said.

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