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South Africa still hasn't lifted Kenyan avocado ban

Staff Writer | September 23, 2016
Agriculture Principal Secretary, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe has said that South Africa is yet to lift the ban on avocados from Kenya, six years on, despite the many deliberations.
Kenyan avocado
Africa   In 2010, South Africa banned the export of avocado
In 2010, South Africa banned the export of avocado from Kenya after the produce was found to be infested with fruit fly.

Lesiyampe said this dealt a big blow to Kenyan farmers noting that avocado exports to South Africa were on average earning local farmers Shs. 120 million every year.

“Kenya like many developing countries, is dependent on agriculture as a source of livelihood, income and for employment creation. Kenya, for instance earns approximately Shs 10 billion in foreign exchange every year from the export of horticultural produce,” said the PS.

Speaking on Tuesday 20 September during the International Phytosanitary Conference held at the KEPHIS headquarters, Nairobi, the PS observed that agriculture is key to economic growth, as well as a determinant of equity in development and fundamental in reducing poverty and hunger.

“Kenyan avocados are not accepted in South Africa because of a pest, which you are all aware off known as bactrocera invadens, or the fruit fly. Further, the export of chillies from Kenya and other countries to international markets has been affected by the False Coddling Moth,” Lesiyampe said .

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) Managing Director, Ms. Esther Kimani said that pests make food availability in many developing countries a challenge to overcome as it compromises the quality of food for the people.

Kimani called for building on the internationally recognised standards that will protect consumers and provide clear standards for producers to meet.

According to experts, although the South African market is relatively small for the Kenyan avocado industry, the ban has shaken the confidence of the international market in Kenyan produce.

Over 233 new pests have been recorded to have been introduced from outside Africa, approximately 30% of these were new insects and mites while 70% of these were new plant diseases.

Kenya ratified the East African Community Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Protocol that will amongst other things, guarantee better food safety measures and plant protection thus promoting safe trade amongst the East African Community member states.