Fruit exporter Kakuzi has received the endorsement from Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), to process and prepare export-grade fresh avocados destined for the Chinese market.
Kakuzi secured KEPHIS seal of approval following a stringent phytosanitary audit of its farms and packhouse.
The move comes hot on the heels of the recent signing of two bilateral trade protocols to aid the shipment of fresh avocados and aquatic produce from Kenya to China.
Kephis has been auditing firms to guarantee the integrity of local packhouses that can provide packaging services for avocado exports.
Kakuzi’s packhouse and orchards near Makuyu town now become the first centre in Kenya to get the lucrative approval.
“I am glad to announce that the Kakuzi’s orchards and packhouse are among the first approved large-scale farming and packing operations, cleared for the Chinese market,” said Kakuzi Plc Managing Director Chris Flowers.
He added: “At the Makuyu facility and orchards, we maintain world-class phytosanitary standards for our exports to Europe, and the Kephis approval further serves to underscore our quality commitments.”
In January, Kenya and China entered into bilateral agreements allowing the export of avocado products when Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi visited Nairobi.
Last year, Kakuzi received an unconditional renewal on a crucial globally-recognized agricultural food quality certification.
As part of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm’s quality management assurance endeavors, Kakuzi received the GLOBALG.A.P. version 5.2 certificate following production and processing procedures audit.
GLOBALG.A.P. is a private-sector body that sets voluntary standards (based on good agricultural practices) for certifying farm products around the globe.
The certification allows Kakuzi to produce avocados to access the European market with a recognized mark of quality issued by NSF Certification Ltd, a UK-based certification body.
“We have invested more than Kes200 million in the last one year to guarantee quality production and environmental management practices leading to such certifications as the GLOBALG.A.P. To attain such a globally recognized certification, it calls for sustained co-operation and commitments by all our stakeholders to maintain the highest possible production and environmental management standards,” Mr Flowers said.