Exporters want action taken against harvesters of immature avocados

Stakeholders in the avocado value chain are now calling for stern measures to be taken against individuals involved in the harvesting of immature avocados in the country.

The Avocado Exporters Association of Kenya (AEAK) says culprits should be charged with economic sabotage, as the practice costs the country billions of shillings in revenues.

AEAK says the practice is malicious and stern measures should be employed to deter future culprits.

“Harvesting of immature avocados and exporting should be termed economic sabotage because it spoils the image of the country and the reputation,” the Association Chairman Samson Mureithi said.

Kenya's avocado export earnings hit Ksh.20 billion in 2023, thanks to markets in Europe and Middle Eastern countries. But the exporters' lobby says harvesting of immature fruits has eaten into this.

The association says growers should be skilled enough to know when the fruit is ready.

“Immature avocados will never ripen and even if they ripen they will not have good taste. A mature avocado is usually dark green, if you find one which is not, then you find the fruit is not mature,” Mureithi added.

The association is now calling for increased awareness of the harvesting of mature avocados.

“HCD should organise programs on training, promotion of good agricultural practices and bring more awareness to farmers and let them know that there are incentives in exporting good fruits,” he said.

According to Mureithi, the move is key, especially as the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) ended a four-month suspension it had imposed on avocado exports from Kenya. 

The regulator sought to examine quantities and maturity levels of the fruit earmarked for the export market.

Exporters will however have to comply with certain standards, key among them subjecting their products to inspection, three days before shipment.

Kenya is one of the leading avocado producers in Africa and exports up to 20,000 metric tonnes of the fruit annually.


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