Kenya has received a go ahead to begin exporting avocado fruits to India this September when the first shipment is expected to be dispatched to the Asian Country. With opening of the Indian market, Kenya farmers will have an opportunity to further expand their avocado plantings, greatly contributing to higher earnings, employment creation on farms and indirect benefits through downstream opportunities.
Main avocado export destinations for Avocado from Kenya include the European Union, in particular the Netherlands, France, Spain, the UK, and Germany (60%).
In Europe, avocados have become the second most valuable imported fruit from developing countries, surpassing grapes, according to available data.
Kenya also exports this fruit to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar as well as to the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia.
“The India Government allowed Kenya avocado market access after notifying the world trade organization (WTO) about the same. We are happy as export destinations continue to increase and thus help our farmers to grow more avocados,” said Prof Theophilus Muthui, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) Managing Director.
Kenya avocado growers are required to fumigate the fruits using Methyl bromide to control and remove pests such as fruit fly or do cold treatment as an alternative. The inaugural shipment will be sent out through a diplomatic bag and thereafter exporters will look for partners and start exporting with the help of KEPHIS.
Kenya and India has been carrying out negotiation talks over the avocado exports deal for the last five years. The East African nation has also begun exporting the fruit to new markets of China and Mauritius and is still in market access talks with USA and South Korea.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) “Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030”, Avocados will become the world’s most traded fruit by 2030.
Avocado has the lowest production rate among tropical fruit, but has seen the fastest production growth in recent years and is expected to remain the fastest growing major tropical fruit in 2021-2023.
Avocado production in Kenya is projected to reach 12 million tonnes by 2030. Of this volume, up to 3.9 million tonnes will be exported, exceeding the exports of pineapples and mangoes. Strong global demand and favourable export prices continue to be the main drivers of this growth.
According to FAO and OECD reports, the Top-10 avocado-producing countries account for nearly 80% of global production. By 2030, about 74% of production will remain in Latin America and the Caribbean, largely due to favourable climatic conditions.
Mexico, the world’s largest producer and exporter of avocados, will see 5.2% annual growth over the next ten years due to continued growth in US demand. Mexico is expected to increase its share of global exports to 63% by 2030 despite growing competition from new exporters such as Peru, Colombia, and Kenya.
Kenya is world’s 6th largest avocado fruit grower
Kenya has doubled its avocado production over the past five years. According to the latest official FAO statistics, Kenya is now the world’s sixth-largest avocado producer, with a planted area of nearly 26 000 ha and a production of 417 000 metric tonnes in 2021, double that of 2016.
The meteoric rise of 20% per annum on average has been achieved largely through the expansion of avocado plantations by an average of 14% per annum, with yields increasing by about 6%.
The sector is still dominated by small-scale farmers owning less than 2 hectares – they produce about 70% of all the country’s avocados, with over 23% of production, 95 000 tonnes, is exported.
Kenya surpassed South Africa in 2021 to become the continent’s largest exporter of avocados. Kenya accounts for 82% of East African Community avocado fruit exports.