The Government of Kenya has temporarily stopped the export of avocados from the country starting this Friday to allow the fruits to mature after allegations that some traders were exporting immature fruits, giving Kenya a bad name in one of the most lucrative sectors.
The Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) suspended the export of Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo avocado varieties by sea starting November 3, 2023. The move, the Directorate says is tailored towards ensuring that Kenya maintains her global state in the sector.
However, the Directorate cleared air shipment of avocados, including those in transit from other East African Community (EAC) countries. The directorate says the decision follows a survey it undertook to authenticate the maturity indices of the avocado fruits in the major production zones.
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“Following the findings of the survey, we hereby notify the Kenyan avocado stakeholders that the closing of Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo harvesting season and export by sea for the 2023/2024 fiscal year shall be in force with effect from November 3, 2023,” said the Directorate.
Avocado production has expanded by approximately 7% globally in the last ten years, with key regions like Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Kenya leading the charge. Mexico, the largest avocado-producing country, has seen a 6% increase in production, accounting for 30% of the global output.
In tandem, Colombia, Peru, and Kenya have experienced production growth rates of 15%, 12%, and 11%, respectively, collectively contributing 27% to global production. Notably, the United States, while previously a top 10 producer, has slipped in the rankings.
One crucial factor contributing to the year-round availability of avocados in key markets like the US, the EU, and some Asian countries is the complementary harvesting seasons of these countries. While Mexico maintains year-round production, it experiences a seasonal low in June and July when other major producers, like the US (California) and Peru, step in, ensuring a steady supply to the US market.
Mexico retains its position as the largest exporter, with exports growing at an average annual rate of approximately 8% over the past decade, surpassing 1 million metric tons in 2022. The primary destination for these exports is the US market, which continues to be the largest importer of avocados globally, witnessing an 8% increase in imports from 2012 to 2022. Moreover, countries like Peru, Spain, and Kenya have also seen significant growth in exports, primarily supplying the European market.
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