Kenya has taken steps to ensure immature avocado fruits do not find their way to the International market. The Horticultural Crops Directorate (HDC) says the harvesting and exporting of immature avocados has negatively affected the image of the country in overseas markets in addition to interfering with the cropping circle of the tree thereby reducing projected volumes in subsequent harvests.
The Directorate has set the closing season of Hass and Fuerte avocado harvesting season varieties from 15th November to 15th March 2020. Companies with an off-season crop are required to notify the directorate in writing within 7 days of the intended harvest indicating the exact location of the farm(s). The closure doesn’t affect the Jumbo variety but consignments will be subjected to 100% inspection and clearance issued. The exporters are also expected to transport the approved consignments by air.
The CEO of the Avocado Society of Kenya Ernest Muthomi says the issue of unscrupulous exporters selling immature crops has led to the country not getting premium prices for the fruit sometimes getting up to 2 Euros less. He says Kenya has good fruits which can’t be compared with those from other countries including Colombia and Peru who are among the world’s top avocado producers. “We want to have a clean start where we want to place the best fruit in the International market. When I was in Colombia I saw a gadget that monitors the maturity of avocados an some of our members here have got it. It is only the government agencies who don’t have it an I call upon the government to procure the gadgets in order to train the farmers and effectively deal with the issue of immature avocados through monitoring. This will go a long way to make this work easier instead of using the traditional methods of policing farmers. These gadgets could be used by government agencies like Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), Horticultural Crops Directorate (HDC) and County inspectors and the advantage is that they can also be used to monitor mango fruits as the sub-sector has also been having the issues of immaturity harvests,” says Muthomi