Farmers have decried the deal signed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and China’s Xi Jinping that is set to see Kenyan farmers export avocado to China, saying its a raw deal.
The farmers have called for a review of the avocado deal, saying the Chinese have put stringent requirements on the exports that will lock out small scale farmers from the business.
Among the requirements by China is for farmers to install machines and coolers for peeling and freezing the fruit before it is exported. Kenyan farmers and traders will also be required to freeze the fruits to negative 30 degrees Celsius after peeling off the skin and freeze further to negative 18 degrees Celsius while in transit.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), which will oversee the export of avocados, also backed the farmer’s outcry, saying the conditions given by China will limit small-scale farmers in the country from accessing the market.
“China will suspend the exports if we do not comply with the rules. Continuous con-compliance will definitely lead to a total ban,” said Kephis Managing Director Esther Kimani.
The signing of the agreement between Kenyatta and Ping makes Kenya the first African nation to export avocados to the Asian nation with a market of over 1.4 billion consumers comes after a long and comprehensive approval process that included Chinese experts visiting Kenyan farmers.
It is estimated that when the agreement is fully implemented, the Chinese market will absorb over 40 per cent of Kenya’s avocado produce, making it one of the largest importers of the fruit. Other famous destinations of Kenyan avocado include Europe and the US.
The signing of the protocol on sanitary and phytosanitary (an agreement relating to the health of plants, especially with respect to the rules of international trade)requirements for the export of frozen avocado was the last major hurdle for the Kenyan crop to be accepted in the highly regulated but lucrative Chinese market.