Kenya’s avocado to India will incur a 30 percent duty making it uncompetitive against Tanzania’s produce, which has been granted duty-free access to the lucrative Asian market.

New Delhi on Monday, through a gazette notice, allowed Kenya to start exporting avocados to India after five years of Kenya’s quest to access one of the world’s most lucrative market for fresh produce.

The duty means that Kenya’s consignment will have to compete with that one from Tanzania, which has free access to the Indian market, making Kenya’s avocado more expensive when compared with other countries.Avocado crop on the farm. Photo: (Courtesy Avocado society of Kenya)

On Monday we reported that India had denied Kenya access to its market but instead granted it to Tanzania after Nairobi exhibited reluctance in allowing Delhi to export rice seed to Kenya as a reciprocity measure.

Exporters of the fruit to India will also incur an extra cost in either fumigating the avocado using methyl bromide or freezing it to zero degrees Celsius or below for 10 days, 0.55 degrees Celsius for 11 days and 1.1 or below for 12 days to eliminate fruit flies before shipping.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) managing director Theophilus Mutui said exporters will have to meet these conditions in order to get access to the market.

Mr Mutui said they will be launching the export of avocado to India in two weeks’ time. “Exporters who meet the set conditions will be free to access the market,” said Prof Mutui.

Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya chief executive officer Ojepat Okisegere has urged the government to move with speed to ensure the duty is waived so that the Kenyan avocado can trade competitively in the Indian market.

“Our main worry now is Tanzania, their avocado is accessing the market duty-free and this will make it difficult for our produce to compete favourably in India,” said Mr Ojepat.

Mr Okisegere said they have informed the Ministry of Trade about the issue and that it has given the undertaking to pick up the matter with the Indian authorities.