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Why fruit exporters need more support

ENTERPRISE
By Wainaina Wambu | September 15th 2021

Avoveg staff repackaging fresh produce of avocados at the processing packhouse facility in Embakasi, Nairobi.

Fruit and vegetable exporters have asked for government support to boost recovery efforts owing to the economic ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There has been so much talk of supporting businesses and entrepreneurs recover and get the economy working again but we are getting zero support. All ministries and stakeholders need to pull up their socks so that we can prosper and empower livelihoods," said AvoVeg chief executive Nathan Loyd Ndung’u.

This is as Avoveg resumes its vegetable export and in the next two weeks, the firm will also commence with mangoes export after a ban to supply to the lucrative European Union market report was lifted.

Mr Ndung’u explained that 2021 was a recovery year for the industry after the Covid-19 pandemic cut business in 2020 owing to the restrictions in movements by countries to contain the virus. 

"Despite 2022 being an electioneering year, majority of entrepreneurs like us feel that the economy will fully pick up next year since there are all indications of everyone including our farmers to get the economy back on track even as we continue fighting the pandemic," he said. 

The firm funds the purchase of fertilizers by farmers they source fruits from to help maintain can the quality of the exports. 

Kenya had imposed a self-ban to the EU market for eight years resulting from interceptions due to fruit flies.

The lifting of the ban is big boost to thousands who rely on the mango tree for their livelihoods, with Kenya earning close to Sh5 billion in foreign exchange reserves at the peak of its export to the European market.

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