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The majority of the Kenya avocado crop is exported through six companies; East African Growers Ltd, Indu Farms Ltd, Kakuzi Ltd, Kenya Horticul-tural Exporters Ltd (KHE), Sunripe Ltd and Vegpro Ltd. Some have their own production farms but the majority rely on large numbers of small-scale outgrowers, each of whom have only a few trees. Around 85% of Kenyan avocado is grown by smallholders and it is an important crop to rural communities and economies. However, this supply base poses certain challenges in terms of quality, traceability and conformity for the growers and exporters dealing with the European market.

Most avocado from Kenya is exported by sea, mainly to Marseilles, France, via the Red Sea. The journey takes around two weeks in transit, and the produce is kept in temperature-controlled conditions that allow slow ripening en route. Indu Farms is the exception as the company air-freights around 650 tons per annum, with the rest of its avocados going by sea to Rotterdam.

LEARN MORE ABOUT Avocados in Kenya

Several difficult challenges face avocado growers – particularly smallscale ones – with two of the most critical being how to ensure quality and traceability.

Growers and exporters need to ensure that the crop production methods meet the required standards of the marketing industry in Europe through-out the chain from the farm to the point of exportation

A large proportion of the avocado crop exported from Kenya is produced on small farms by smallholder outgrowers. The crop is collected by mid-dlemen or brokers who are intermediaries between the farm and the exporter.