KENYA – Kenya is set to launch avocado shipment to the Indian market starting in September as revealed by the Director General of Kenya Plant Health Inspection Service, Theophilus Mutui.

According to the official, the inaugural export of the avocados will be through the Kenya High Commission in India over the next two weeks.

“We have received a communication from the Indian government dated August 16, 2023, confirming the opening of the market by the Asian country,” the official said.

For the Kenyan sector, which exports mainly to the European Union, the green light from this Asian country offers a new outlet, but above all an opportunity to sell the surplus production planned by the authorities this year.

“We expect a glut as more fruit is expected to hit the market following the expansion of land devoted to avocado cultivation over the past five years, especially in non-traditional counties such as Trans Nzoia, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu,” Mr Mutui explained.

However, data compiled on the Trade Map Platform revealed that in this new market, Kenya faces competition from Tanzania, India’s leading supplier of avocados in 2022, accounting for more than 50% of shipments.

According to Ernst Muthomi, Chief Executive of the Avocado Society of Kenya (ASK), players in the Kenyan sector, however, have doubts about the competitiveness of their fruits in the country compared to other outlets.

She urged the government to negotiate the removal of the export duties currently applied by the Indian government, which stand at 30%.

“This could reduce the competitiveness of our avocados compared to the situation in other markets around the world,” she said.

Recently, in the global avocado industry, Asia is seen as the future major purchasing destination ranking third behind North America and Europe.

Meanwhile, South Africa, the second African exporter of fruit after Kenya, also wants to position itself in this market, starting with China.

Earlier this month, Thoko Didiza, the South African Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development signed an agreement with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, authorizing the export of South African avocados to the Asian country.

For the South African sector, the green light from China is an opportunity to diversify its outlets and achieve its growth ambitions.

Indeed, South Africa mainly exports its fruit harvest to the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom, which both absorb more than 90% of its shipments.

In South Africa, the Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA) forecasts a 23% growth in avocado shipments to 80,000 tonnes by the end of 2023.

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