Kenya’s avocado revenue reached Ksh19 billion last year, driven by a surge in volumes and the exploration of new markets in recent years.

Christine Chesaro, head of Kenya’s AFA-Horticulture Directorate, disclosed a 14 percent increase in volumes, which translated to improved returns for farmers.

“Avocado production escalated from 441,593 tonnes in 2022 to 518,500 in 2023, marking a 14.8 percent upswing,” Ms Chesaro said during a stakeholder meeting in Nairobi.

“The export values for avocados in 2023 amounted to Ksh19.04 billion, reflecting a 12 percent boost in foreign earnings from exports.”

Kenya has actively pursued new overseas markets, successfully securing destinations such as China and India. Currently, in talks with five countries, including the US and South Korea, Nairobi aims to address the potential surplus domestically.

Despite India becoming a recent addition to Kenya’s market portfolio, challenges arise due to a 30 percent duty imposed by the Asian country on exports, whereas competitors like Tanzania enjoy duty-free export status.

The increase in overseas volumes stems from a plan executed over the last five years, resulting in a significant expansion of avocado cultivation.

The avocados cultivated during this period are now entering the market, raising concerns about a potential glut if additional markets are not established.

The government acknowledged the anticipated surplus last year, as non-traditional counties like Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, and Uasin Gishu embraced avocado cultivation.

Kenya’s performance in 2023 exhibited noteworthy growth, reaching Ksh157 billion from Ksh147 billion in 2022.

Industry stakeholders attribute this positive trajectory to the emergence of new markets and a commitment to complying with international standards, contributing to lower interception levels in the global market.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org