KE Kakuzi avocado

Kenyan grower-exporter Kakuzi has revealed it is one of the first companies in the country to gain approval from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) to process and prepare export-grade fresh avocados for the Chinese market.

The approval came following a stringent phytosanitary audit on Kakuzi’s farms and packhouse and follows the recent signing of bilateral trade protocols facilitating the export of fresh Kenyan avocados to China.

As part of the implementation of the protocols, Kakuzi said, Kephis had been undertaking audits of facilities to ensure the integrity of local packhouses selected to pack for export.

Kakuzi managing director Chris Flowers revealed that Kakuzi’s packhouse and orchards near Makuyu had been inspected and found to be compliant with international standards.

'We recently were subjected to a series of random and procedural inspections by Kephis, and I am glad to announce that Kakuzi’s orchards and packhouse are among the first approved large-scale farming and packing operations, cleared for the Chinese market,' he said. 'At the Makuyu facility and orchards, we maintain world-class phytosanitary standards for our exports to Europe, and the Kephis approval further serves to underscore our quality commitments.'

During a visit to Kenya in January by the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, the two countries signed bilateral agreements pertaining to avocado exports.

Last year, Kakuzi also received GlobalGAP IFA version 5.2 following a recent production and processing procedures audit.

'At Kakuzi, we have invested more than Kshs200m (€1.57m) in the last year to guarantee quality production and environmental management practices, leading to such certifications as GlobalGAP,” said Flowers. “To attain such a globally recognised certification, it calls for sustained cooperation and commitments by all our stakeholders to maintain the highest possible production and environmental management standards.

'To ensure that our locally produced fruits meet the global standard, we have continued to invest in globally benchmarked staff training and production facilities and practices, making us a truly Kenyan but world-class agro-business firm.

“Our commitment to this is further demonstrated by our latest ESG report launched at the Nairobi Securities Exchange in December last year. Future-proofing agriculture is not a catchphrase, but requires one to put resources behind it.”

Kakuzi equally boasts several local and international operating accreditations, including the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) Diamond Mark of Quality and the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management systems, pertaining to the company’s impact on the environment and responsible approach to workplace health and safety and animal welfare.