The ban on exports of Fuerte avocados grown in Kenya, introduced to address maturity issues, was officially lifted by the country’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) on 1 February.
The decision has been welcomed by Kenyan exporters like Selina Wamucii whose CEO John Oroko said that the move would bring relief to farmers, exporters and importers of Kenyan avocados across the world.
"It's definitely very good news for the small family growers who produce over 70 per cent of avocados that are exported in Kenya," he said. "The temporary ban was a wake-up call for exporters, as the reason for imposing the ban was to stop exporters shipping out immature crop because of high demand in the world market. We are now getting into the main avocado season and hope that all industry players comply with the export requirements. The responsibility is now on the exporters to follow the protocols to avoid any future suspensions."
To ensure that only mature avocados are exported, the AFA has set particular export criteria for Fuerte avocados, including a dull skin colour, shrivelling and yellowing of the stalk, a dark brown, dry stone, a minimum of 20 per cent dry matter and a minimum of 8 per cent oil content.
Anne Kavai of Keitt Exporters agreed that the move was positive. “This is good news since we are able to export again and the quality is good too,” she said. According to Kavai, the export ban on the Hass variety is due to be lifted on 1 March.