Kenya prepares for avocado exports to Malaysia market

Kakuzi Technical Manager Grace Njeru with Malaysian plant health auditors. [File, Standard]

Kenya could begin exporting avocados to Malaysia soon. Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) recently met with Malaysian authorities to discuss the process's modalities, including compliance with plant health regulations.

Kephis Managing Director Prof Theophilus Mutui said an audit team from Malaysia's National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) had concluded pest-risk and field assessments at local agricultural company Kakuzi in Murang'a County.

"Kephis has been working hard to secure export market access for local avocado growers beyond the traditional European markets as part of our statutory mandate," said Prof Mutui.

"Following the success of our venture to China, we are now engaging NPPO from Malaysia, who have undertaken field audits at Kakuzi. Our growers may commence avocado exports to Malaysia early next year," added Prof Mutui.

Field audits

Kakuzi Managing Director Chris Flowers said the Malaysian audit team had conducted field audits and protocols assessments at the firm's Makuyu avocado orchards and packhouse.

"Kakuzi provided the necessary cooperation to the Kephis and Malaysia NPPO teams who have conducted the facility and field audits to confirm our export readiness to Malaysia," said Mr Flowers.

Earlier this month, Kakuzi became the first African company to commercially sell avocados to China, and it is now looking to expand its presence in the Far East market.

"Kakuzi reported a 60 per cent increase in its half-year pre-tax profits, boosted by increased sales, particularly against the firm's strategic avocado and macadamia crops, and steadily growing revenues from its market and product diversification efforts," the company said in a statement.

Malaysian field and facility inspections are similar to those conducted by Chinese authorities. According to the Kenya Economic Survey 2021, earnings from exports of horticulture produce increased by 3.9 per cent from Sh144.6 billion in 2019 to Sh150.2 billion in 2020.

With the introduction of new high-potential markets such as China and Malaysia, the value of horticultural exports is expected to grow, occasioning a positive economic ripple effect in the sub-sector.

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