Kenya eyes "sizeable" share of South African avocado market with ban lifted

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South Africa has lifted a 10-year ban on Kenyan avocados, with growers in the East African country now eyeing a "sizeable" share of the import market.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) said the market reopened this week after "long negotiations" that began in 2007.

Market access was blocked due to fruit fly detections and KEPHIS said that since then the country has worked hard to regain access.

One of Kenya's biggest avocado companies, Selina Wamucci, said the development was welcome news for itself and "all our avocado growers across Kenya."

“Maintaining existing markets is equally as important as opening up new export markets for Kenyan avocados," the company's head of production Samuel Karogo told Fresh Fruit Portal.

He described the development as "a great relief" after waiting for more than a decade.

"It is a win for Kenyan farmers. It is a win for intra-African trade," he said.

"Given Kenya's proximity to South Africa by sea, Kenya's avocados will take a sizeable share of the over 2,700 metric tons of avocados that South Africa currently imports mainly from Spain and Israel," he said.

Karogo previously said Kenya mainly produces the Fuerte variety, with smaller volumes of Hass. Typically around 1,200-1,500 four-metric-ton containers are shipped from the country annually.

In April he said he expected Kenyan avocado exports to increase around 20-30% year-on-year this season due to improved growing conditions.

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