Avocado business thrives in the midst of COVID-19

Covid-19 has made a mess of businesses round the world. Despite the tough times, there is something to smile about. Avocado business in Kenya is thriving in the midst Covid-19.  Kenya has recently toped Africa in global exports and currently ranks 7th largest exporter in the world. 

Over the years, people have found new and creative ways of including avocados in their everyday lives. Apart from being incorporated in foods or snacks, avocados are now also used for cosmetic purposes and as substitutes of mayonnaise/ butter. This is due to their natural oils, which are very beneficial to our bodies.  The diverseness of this fruit has had an effect on its demand. Year by year, its demand around the globe goes up. According to InspiraFarms, the fast growth in demand and prices are setting up avocado as one of the top crops to be traded.

The export of Avocado has over the years gained a lot of momentum in the country. It is currently a great source of revenue and business to not only the farmers, but also to the country. Statistics published by the Daily Nation show that Kenya produces an average of 191,000 tonnes of avocado per year. It exports approximately 51,507 tonnes of the fruit, earning the country nearly Sh8 billion. 

According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global avocado market was valued at US$13.64 bn in 2018 and is predicted to attain an overall value of US$21.56 bn by 2026. The market is projected to show a healthy CAGR of 5.9% every year during the forecast period of 2018-2026. The performance of the avocado market grew by 104% between 2000 to 2016, with a total production of 5.5 million tons in 2016. As huge as these numbers might look, you will be shocked to know that Kenya only exports 10% of its total avocado production. This only shows you that there is a huge pool of farmers that needs to be tapped into. The surprisingly low rate of exports compared to the rate of production has been brought about by a couple of factors. One of them is that farmers find the export processes long and tedious. Most farmers are not enlightened about the process of exporting Avocado. 

In this digital age, Kenya has ensured that the import and export processes and procedures have been upgraded. In January 2011, the government mandated the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a trade facilitation agency, to streamline and simplify these processes by making each and every process available online. The step by step processes on exporting avocados are now a click of a button away on the InfoTrade portal. Farmers can now acquire all the necessary documents and make the necessary payments easily without the worry of physically moving from one office to the next.

For a long time, most small-scale farmers have been timid to the idea of exporting. A study from Farmbiz shows that a huge percentage of large-scale farmers take part in export business compared to small-scale farmers. This is as a result their experience and better training in export. The availability of step by step procedures on the InfoTrade portal are definitely a light at the end of a dark tunnel and this only means that more small-scale farmers now have an option of joining the export market.

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