Kakuzi enters export deal to double China avocado market
Superfoods exporter Kakuzi’s foray into China continues to pay dividends after securing a partnership with a Chinese horticultural produce importer Dalian Yidu Group.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company has been working with China-based agent Halls Fresh Produce to market its produce in the populous Asian market that imported roughly 50,000 metric tonnes of avocado in 2021.
“We are proud to announce that Kakuzi Plc has plans to double avocado exports to China following an engagement with Dalian Yidu Group, a major Chinese importer of fresh fruits and vegetables, as part of their diversification,” Kakuzi managing director Chris Flowers said.
Statistics from Kenya’s Horticultural Crops Directorate show that since August last year, Kenya’s avocado shipments to Beijing have surged past two million kilograms, underscoring the huge capacity of the market. Kenya shipped over $50 million worth of both fresh and frozen avocados to China in 2022 and players in the sector project to double the exports to China this year.
Dalian Yidu executive Laura Xu toured Kakuzi’s orchards and pack house in Murang’a for familiarization with Mr Flowers indicating it would be all systems go for shipments when the avocado harvest season starts next month.
“Kakuzi Plc is strategically positioned to provide quality superfoods for the local and export markets. The visit by the team from Dalian Yidu underscores the importance of quality management systems as such buyers undertake rigorous evaluations to enable them to deliver nothing but the best to their discerning customers,” Mr Flowers said.
Laura Xu said her company had approved Kakuzi’s production and quality management processes after they aligned with the Chinese firm’s supply chain standards.
Located in Dalian Bonded Free Zone in China, Dalian Yidu has been in the Chinese fresh fruit and vegetables import business since 1988 and has developed formidable international sourcing, cold-chain, and related logistical management structure for its fruit and vegetable business, Ms Xu explained.
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Kakuzi’s strategy of selling Hass avocados under strict phytosanitary standards has seen raging success among Chinese consumers, who have sought the produce since it debuted in the Asian market last August.
The inaugural shipment of avocado, the first by an African country in China, was snapped up fast by consumers with Kakuzi reporting the superfood sold out within a month.
“The first Kakuzi Hass Avocado export load to China was sold-out some weeks ago, and we currently don’t have any stocks in the market. However, we hope to deliver another quality load of Hass Avocados in October, and the necessary orchard preparations are underway as per the specific Chinese protocols,” Mr Flowers reported in September.
To tap growing the market, the company has expanded its avocado orchards by 60 hectares, up from 927 hectares in a Kes120 million investment to meet the demand for superfoods globally.
In January last year, Kenya and China signed two commercial protocols to facilitate bilateral trade, mainly the export of avocados and aquatic products from Nairobi. The then Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Zhou Pingjian, signed the agreements in Mombasa.
Kakuzi got the green light to access China market following a stringent phytosanitary check by the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation at the Shanghai International Airport and customs clearance by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China.