Kakuzi to resume avocado exports in May

Fruit exporter Kakuzi Plc will resume Hass Avocado harvests and exports to China and European markets in mid May as part of a quality assurance commitment that will see the company deliver mature produce to customers.

Kakuzi Plc Managing Director Chris Flowers said recent maturity tests have confirmed that the firm’s current crop grown at its Makuyu, Murang’a County Orchards are yet to attain the necessary maturity and related quality standards for international export.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), through its Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD), announced that the 2023 avocado harvesting season officially opened on March 24th, 2023 but cautioned growers against immature fruit harvesting.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange company is already providing free maturity test services for smallholder farmers to ensure that only avocados with a minimum dry matter standard of 24 percent are harvested.

Read: Kakuzi dividend up 9 percent on higher avocado sales

Harvesting and exporting immature fruit, Mr Flowers said, is detrimental to the firm’s national avocado development initiatives as it erodes brand value and positioning in an international market featuring quality-conscious countries such as Colombia, Chile and Peru.

“Maturity testing has been ongoing with the important parameters of dry matter content being closely monitored on our orchards and affiliated smallholder farmers. Whilst maturity can vary from growing region to growing region at Kakuzi, the minimum dry matter we export at is 24 percent up to a maximum maturity of 35 percent, which we reach by mid-September,” Mr Flowers said.

He added, “by measuring that the dry matter content, and hence oil content, is correct before we export, we can provide our customers with the best eating experience of quality avocados. No one wants to buy an avocado you can’t eat. Our dry matter content is only 19 percent, so we have another month before our fruit reaches an export quality.”

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