Kenya failed to ship the first consignment of avocado to India on Sunday as planned in what the authorities attributed to ‘logistical challenges’.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi had last week said he would flag off the maiden consignment of avocado destined for India at JKIA on Sunday at 4pm.
However, the launch failed to take off as planned, with a memo by the Directorate of Horticulture seen by Business Day Africa stating that there were logistical issues that led to the cancellation.
“I regret to inform you that due to logistical challenges, the flagging off of the inaugural avocado exports to India will not take place this afternoon as earlier planned,” said the acting Head of the Horticultural Crops Directorate Christine Chesaro in a communication to stakeholders.
Ms Chesaro said the directorate will come up with a new date and communicate the same to stakeholders in due course.
It was not clearer the kind of logistical challenges that were experienced and our efforts to get clarification was not successful.
Kenya’s avocado was last month granted market access to India after five years of negotiations, however, the consignment will attract a 30 percent duty, making it less competitive when compared with other countries such as Tanzania which is also exporting to this Asian country at zero duty.
India is a lucrative market for Kenya’s avocado given its huge population that can absorb more volumes.
Kenya is racing against time to open up more markets for avocado as the crop that was planted five years ago under the expansion programme is maturing and may lead to a glut, subjecting farmers to losses.
Kenya Health Plant Inspectorate Service has been at the forefront of scouting for new markets around the globe.
Kephis managing director Theophilus Mutui said they are now working to have access to the American market.
“We are in negotiations with the US to have access to that market as we expand the destinations where we sell our avocado,” said Prof Mutui.