KENYA – In a recent social media uproar, the Avocado Society of Kenya accused specific companies of exporting immature avocados, sparking controversy within the country’s horticulture industry.

These allegations have drawn a stern response from the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), cautioning against potentially damaging actions that could impact Kenya’s horticultural trade.

The dispute unfolded after the Avocado Society of Kenya, via its social media handle @KenyaAvocados, publicly accused certain companies of exporting immature fruit, implicating regulatory collusion in the process.

This move drew criticism from AFA’s Horticultural Crops Department (HCD), prompting a cautionary letter to Ernest Muthomi, the CEO of the Avocado Society of Kenya.

Christine Chesaro, the acting Director of HCD, reprimanded Muthomi for disseminating unverified information, warning of its detrimental effects on Kenya’s horticultural trade.

Chesaro emphasized that such actions sow discord and damage the industry’s reputation, urging adherence to proper communication channels and procedures.

Chesaro’s letter addressed to avocado exporters highlighted concerns about the Avocado Society’s conduct, cautioning against the dissemination of unverified claims and emphasizing the absence of supervisory authority over the Directorate. The letter underscored the potential repercussions should the society persist in such behavior.

Notably, this controversy emerged soon after the announcement by AFA regarding the conclusion of Kenya’s avocado export season for the fiscal year 2023/2024.

Effective November 3, 2023, the season’s closure includes Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo avocado varieties.

The decision follows a comprehensive survey conducted by HCD to authenticate the maturity levels of avocados across major production zones.

Based on these findings, HCD has issued directives for the conclusion of the export season, subject to inspection and traceability requirements.

AFA’s directive, encompassing exporters, importers, and processors, aims to uphold the export of mature avocados to sustain and expand Kenya’s international markets while curbing the harvesting and exportation of immature fruit.

HDC established under the AFA Act of 2013, ensures compliance with sector regulations to maintain the quality of locally and internationally marketed produce.

Their emphasis on harvesting and exporting mature avocados aligns with efforts to preserve Kenya’s global market presence and prevent interruptions in the crop cycle.

This development underscores the importance of responsible communication and adherence to regulatory guidelines within Kenya’s thriving horticultural industry.

As Kenya navigates challenges around immature fruit exports, regulatory bodies are steadfast in their commitment to upholding industry standards and fostering sustainable trade practices.

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.