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Season’s First Kenyan Avocados Arrive in China
Early March saw the arrival of this season’s first shipment of Kenyan avocados to China. The consignment of four metric tons arrived in Shanghai by air and was distributed to the markets of Shanghai and Guangzhou on the same day.
According to China’s Department of African Affairs, Kenya plans to supply the Chinese market with a total of 20,000 metric tons of avocados in 2023. If exports meet this projection, Kenya will have achieved a significant share of the emerging Chinese avocado market. At present, China typically imports approximately 40,000 metric tons of avocados each year, and this figure is expected to increase in the coming years.
Newton Maina, sales and marketing manager at the Avocado Society of Kenya, told Produce Report that the industry has observed a certain decline in production this year owing to a prolonged period of dry weather. Rains in recent weeks, however, have made growers believe that the fruit will be of high quality. According to Maina, the society has recently witnessed a substantial increase in the number of farmers venturing into the avocado business. Meanwhile, existing avocado growers have been expanding their production areas in an effort to supply the Chinese market with more fruit. A Kenyan government official previously expressed the hope that Kenya would be able to export 100,000 metric tons of avocados to China annually in the future. Work to expand the list of Kenyan exporters, farms, packing houses and fumigation facilities licensed for exporting to China is also reportedly underway.
Shanghai Guorui Technology Information Co. Ltd., a Chinese importer and marketer of African agricultural products, was involved in both last year’s pilot shipments and the recent first shipment of 2023. The company’s general manager Du Gongming said that the overall feedback on Kenyan avocados has been positive, although as a newcomer to the China market Kenya needs to make further progress in quality control management.
China’s avocado consumption is currently concentrated in first-tier cities, but the popularity of the fruit has been gradually spreading across the country. Besides promotional campaigns launched by retail and wholesale venues, beverage shops, which use avocados as an ingredient in juices, teas and yoghurts, have also given a boost to the consumption of avocados by the Chinese public. From this year onward, Kenyan avocados will be used by the More Yoghurt brand, which entered into cooperation with Shanghai Guorui last year following an agreement signing ceremony witnessed by Mary Muthoni Gichohi, Kenya’s ambassador to China. According to Du, Kenyan avocados are expected to soon become a part of other fruit-based beverages as well, with several tea chains having already expressed interest in cooperation.
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