Kakuzi Plc Managing Director says the firm is handling increasing orders from Chinese buyers at a time when Kenya is geographically at an advantage compared to other South American countries who also enjoy access to the South Asian market of over 1.4 billion people.

Fruit exporter Kakuzi Plc has secured pre-shipment approvals from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) for its second fresh avocado shipment to China.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company will be shipping several 20-foot container loads to China by sea before the end of this week as demand for quality Kenyan avocado fresh fruits grows in the South Asian market of 1.4 billion people.

Kenya is currently enjoying a market advantage as it is the only approved African source market for fresh Avocado fruits in China.

Other countries also shipping avocadoes to China are Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Chile. Kenya, however, is enjoying a geographical advantage against its South American competitors in accessing the market.

Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Christopher Flowers said the containers were prepared and transferred to Mombasa over the weekend.

Mr Flowers added that the ongoing shipments to China are providing much-needed growth leverage for Kenyan produce and Kakuzi as it seeks to enhance its markets and product diversification strategy.

“We received the pre-shipment clearance by KEPHIS last week and proceeded to load and dispatch the container to Mombasa over the weekend. The container is expected to leave the Port of Mombasa for a 30-day voyage to China,” Mr Flowers explained.

He added, “In recent times, our order book with the Chinese buyers has been growing at an encouraging and steady pace. While we have a full order book from our existing customers, additional crop this year has enabled us to keep shipping at least one container weekly to China for the next two months even as the avocado harvest season ends.”

Read also: Rising exports earn Kakuzi Sh341 million profit in six months

Speaking from China, Kakuzi market agents HALLS Fresh Produce Representative Mr Lifan Yu said the firm is sourcing its supplies from approved countries, including Chile, Peru, New Zealand and Mexico, using our Halls’ Responsibly Sourced Network’ of global partners who are carefully selected.

“This year, we started our supply programme with Kenya, who have finally received market access into China. We organized a first air-freight shipment straight from our partner Kakuzi, Kenya, to China in June. We have planned for sea-freight shipments for the rest of the year, which will arrive for October and November sales, in a period where we feel the market will have limited Chilean avocados,” Yu said.

The Chinese market, Yu said, clearly needs more supply of quality fruit and more options to enable consumers to purchase avocados 365 days a year at affordable prices.

More consistent availability of quality fruit with the correct dry matter content is essential to ensure we encourage repeat purchases because they have a great taste experience.

The export of fresh avocados to China follows the early January signing of two protocols to facilitate bilateral trade, mainly the export of avocados and aquatic products from Kenya to China.

An increase in sales has seen fruit exporter Kakuzi Plc record a 75 percent rise in half-year profit for the season to June 30 as earnings hit Kes341.3 million from Kes194.6 million during a similar period in 2021.

The rise in net profit for the NSE listed firm was attributable to improved sales with turnover for the company hitting Kes1 billion from Kes888.9 million in June 2021.

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