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Kenya plans to export avocados to China

Kenya plans to export avocados to China

Image from Well-Being Secrets

Avocado products are expected to land in China soon, thanks to an initiative led by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) managing director Esther Kimani says they have already received Chinese experts to conduct risk analysis and field visits during avocado harvesting season.The visit would seek to comprehend orchard management, picking, packaging and certification system of the popular fruit.

An invitation was subsequently sent to China and, after some interactions, the agenda was agreed to be on 25 March and 1 April this year to coincide with the main avocado export season

Chinese experts will be hosted at avocado farms in Kakuzi, Embu, Murang'a, Uasin Gichu, and Trans Nzoia before they are taken to the airport to see how inspection of the fruit and other crops is conducted.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service has received many requests for export of avocado to China since 2011. This led to an initial application for market access in April 2011 to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO).

In the feedback, it was indicated that avocado in Kenya, 11 species which included Cryptophlebia leucotreta (false codling moth), five fruit flies species (Bactrocera cucurbitae, B.invadens, Ceratitis capitata , C. cosyra, C. rosa (fruitflies), four other insects (Ceraplastes rusci, Vinsonia stellifera, Lopholeucaspis cockerelli, Selenaspidus articulates (Scales) and Pseudocercospora purpurea (black spots/spot blotch) were of concern to China.

The Chinese NPPO wanted Kenya to indicate to them which risk mitigation measures were in place to ensure the intended avocado exports were free of these pests.Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service  provided the mitigation measures — which were based on a system approach — in December 2017.

The Chinese NPPO evaluated the Kenyan risk mitigation proposal and concluded that the country had put forward a comprehensive prevention and control mechanism for the pests of interest at orchard level.

They also observed that post-harvest measures such as packaging, pre-export inspection and quarantine methods would be used to prevent and control the pests cited.

However, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (false codling moth) is widespread in Africa and the larvae is hidden inside the avocado, below difficult to observe with the naked eye.This pest is therefore difficult to remove effectively through packaging and pre-export inspections.As a result, China proposed that Kenya considers the establishment of "a non-epidemic area or a non-pestilence production unit to prevent and control the pest".

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