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Kenya tightens avocado quality control to safeguard export market

NAIROBI (XINHUA) – Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) said on Friday that it reviewed the country’s avocado maturity indices and post-harvest handling process to safeguard the export market as global demand for the fruit surges.

Kenya will now only export fruits that have a minimum of 24 per cent dry matter, Director of Horticulture Crops Directorate at the AFA Benjamin Tito said in a statement.

“This is meant to improve fruit quality aspects in line with global market requirements, safeguard and enhance Kenya’s competitiveness in the export arena,” he said.

Kenya is a major avocado exporter, but has faced many complaints in the past over the quality of fruits exported to the European Union and the United Arab Emirates, because farmers harvested and exported immature fruits, particularly during the off season.

To deal with the problem, the AFA initially banned avocado export during the period.

In 2021, Kenya earned about USD124 million from avocados, a figure expected to rise to USD155 million this year, according to the AFA.