Kenyan avocado producers are stepping up their operations to Chinese import standards as they angle for the huge market.
Producers such as Vertical Agro are embracing the requirements that comprise washing the ripe avocado, peeling off the skin, removing the seed, and then freezing it for shipment to China.
In April this year President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese Counterpart Xi Jinping signed a trade agreement that opened doors for local farmers to export avocado to the Asian country.
Kenya which is the largest avocado producer in Africa and seventh globally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is expected to reap big in the lucrative 13.5 billion shillings Chinese market.
Vertical agro, an avocado exporting company is one of the producers that have started putting in place adequate preparations to ensure the quality of avocado exports conforms to the high Chinese market standards.
According to the company’s General Manager Vishal Shah, avocados in their processing facility are peeled, cut into small pieces and frozen below 40 degrees before packaging into bags to increase the fruit’s shelf life by 2 years.
Vertical Agro is expected to export its first shipment of Avocado to China next month. Produce Exporters Association of Kenya chairman Apollo Owuor says avocado production in Kenya is expected to increase in the next five years due to high demand globally.
Currently, Vertical Agro processes three tons of avocados daily and targets to increase the capacity to 18 tons per day.