Kenyan avocado exports overtook South Africa in 2017

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Kenyan avocado exports overtook South Africa in 2017

Kenya's high annual growth rate for avocado exports helped it to overtake South Africa last year as the continent's largest exporter.

The East African country exported a record 51,507 metric tons (MT) in 2017 compared to South Africa's 43,492MT, according to International Trade Center data.

While Kenyan exports have been growing on an annual basis - at a rate of between 10% and 34% since 2013 - South Africa's volumes have varied over recent years, having reached a record 65,845MT in 2014.

South Africa's lower exports last year were attributed largely due to drought-related issues and hot weather. The 2018 export estimate as of April, however, was for around 66,000MT.

Kenya-based avocado company Selina Wamucii said that Kenya's most important import markets include  the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and more recently, Russia. The Netherlands and France remain its number two and three markets, respectively.

"Kenya has had a steady year on year growth since 2012 and despite facing a severe drought in 2017, managed to export a record over 50,000 tons. I have every reason to believe this year will be way better given that we had rains and the avocado sizes have increased significantly,"  said Selina Wamucii CEO John Oroko.

"Of importance to note is that Russia and Hong Kong have had over 500% market growth and these are very key markets for our avocados if the country is to maintain its lead.

"The EU market is already a mature market for Kenya's avocados and significant growth can only be achieved with the nurturing of these new and strategic emerging markets for Kenyan avocados especially China and Russia. The future indeed looks very bright."


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