The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) has indefinitely extended the suspension of exports for the Hass and Fuerte avocado varieties.

The suspension was first initiated on November 15 last year and seeks to prevent the harvesting and export of immature avocados.

“Harvesting and export of immature avocados have negatively affected the image of Kenyan avocados in overseas markets in addition to interfering with the cropping cycle of the trees thereby reducing projected volumes in subsequent harvests,” AFA stated.

The crop sector regulator says recent surveys show the main season crop remains immature hence necessitating the stay of the suspension on exports.

The export of the Jumbo avocado variety is however set to continue by airlifting only but will remain capped by size.

The value of avocado exports between January and November 2021 fell slightly to Ksh.14.4 billion from Ksh.14.5 billion in a comparable period in 2020 even as the volume of exports rose to 84.5 million kilos from 70.3 million kilos.

In 2020, Kenya was the largest exporter of avocados on the continent despite only exporting 10 per cent of its avocado produce.

In 2021, avocados represented 81.8 per cent of all earnings from the export of fruits with pineapples and mangoes fetching a mere Ksh.1.4 billion and Ksh.1.2 billion respectively from the export market between January and November.

By Fredrick Odanga Azelwa.