Kenya is eying the Malaysian market for the export of avocado as it seeks to expand its reach beyond the traditional buyers.
The plant regulator-Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) says it has received inquiries from Malaysia, whose officials want to visit the country to assess if Kenya can export the produce to this Asian nation.
Kephis managing director Theophilus Mutui said the Malaysian officials would want to assess if Kenya can produce pest-free avocado before they can commence imports.
“We have received inquiries from Malaysia and we expect officials from that country to visit soon to kickstart the process of buying our produce,” said Prof Mutui.
The move will come as a boost to Kenyan farmers as it will open up more opportunities for local producers to sell their crop outside their traditional markets.
The MD said Kenya has also received a number of inquiries from other European countries, showing a growing interest in the demand that Kenya’s avocado is generating in the world market.
Kenya has been missing out on some of the global market destinations, especially in Europe because of pests that have seen some overseas markets place a ban on the export of some of the horticulture produce to these overseas markets.
However, Prof Mutui said Kenya has put in place special mechanisms such as the establishment of pest-free zones to contain the insects.
The pest-free zones have been established in Makueni and Elgeyo Marakwet counties with more regions lined up.
The creation of pest-free areas will guarantee pest-free produce being exported to the EU, hence no fears of the produce being blacklisted.
Local mango and fruit farmers have been grappling with the fruit fly since 2003 when the pest was first reported in the country forcing Kenya to put in place a self-imposed ban on the export of mangoes to Europe in 2012 to stop the risk of being blacklisted in a market where the country sells the bulk of its horticulture produce.