Kenya’s first export of avocado to India is set to start on Sunday amid a 30 percent duty that puts a damper on the news market.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi says he will flag off the first consignment this Sunday as Kenya makes a milestone in accessing the Indian market.

This comes at a time when Kenya is yet to resolve an outstanding issue of 30 percent duty for all the avocado exports to India making the produce uncompetitive in the Indian market.

“This Sunday at 4 o’clock I will be flagging the first cargo flight for avocado to India because we are trying to open up markets in order to increase on our foreign exchange,” said Mr Linturi during a horticulture stakeholders meeting in Eldoret.

CS Mithika Linturi (Photo: Courtesy of Ministry of Agriculture)
CS Mithika Linturi (Photo: Courtesy of Ministry of Agriculture)

Mr Linturi said the ministry will support farmers to produce more avocados for the international market at a cheaper cost.

He also said that they are going to roll out e-extension that farmers can access through online apps to boost productivity and urged farmers to register with the government to get access to these services.

Kenya has been lobbying to access India in the last five years as a way of expanding the traditional European market where the country exports the bulk of the produce.

Stakeholders have welcomed the latest development, arguing that access to the Indian market is more important at the moment and that it will trigger negotiations on duty.

“There is a 30 percent duty that will make our produce expensive to India, however, it is a good move that we are able to access the market now, after that is when we can have negotiations on duty,” said Ojepat Okisegere, chief executive officer Kenya Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya.

Kenya Plants Health Inspectorate Service says exporters will have to meet phytosanitary requirements to access the Indian market.

“India requires us to fumigate our produce before it is exported, this is one of the conditions that traders must meet,” said Kephis managing director Theophilus Mutui.

The two-day horticulture workshop in Uasin Gishu County was organized by HCD, which is under AFA, to discuss optimum utilization of the Eldoret International Airport in the lifting of the fresh produce.