Listed superfoods grower Kakuzi Plc Hass Avocado harvests and exports to China and European markets will only commence mid-next month as part of a quality assurance commitment, the firm has confirmed.
The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), through its Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD), announced that the 2023 avocado harvesting season officially opened on March 24th, 2023 but cautioned growers against immature fruit harvesting.
To maintain superior quality standards, Kakuzi Plc Managing Director Chris Flowers said recent maturity tests have confirmed that the firm’s current crop grown at its Makuyu, Murang’a County Orchards are yet to attain the necessary maturity and related quality standards for international export.
The firm, he added, is also providing free maturity test services for smallholder farmers to ensure that only avocados with a minimum dry matter standard of 24% are harvested. Harvesting and exporting immature fruit, Mr Flowers said, is detrimental to our national avocado development initiatives as it will erode our brand value and positioning in an international market featuring quality-conscious countries such as Colombia, Chile and Peru.
“Maturity testing has been ongoing with the important parameters of dry matter content being closely monitored on our orchards and affiliated smallholder farmers. Whilst maturity can vary from growing region to growing region at Kakuzi, the minimum dry matter we export at is 24% up to a maximum maturity of 35%, which we reach by mid-September,” Mr Flowers said.
He added, “By measuring that the dry matter content, and hence oil content, is correct before we export, we can provide our customers with the best eating experience of quality avocados. No one wants to buy an avocado you can’t eat. Our dry matter content is only 19%, so we have another month before our fruit reaches an export quality.”
According to HCD, avocados should be harvested when they reach maturity, which is determined by a minimum dry matter standard of 24%. In a public notice, the Directorate added that harvesting avocado at the recommended stage of maturity of more than 24% dry matter content reduces the fruit’s susceptibility to mesocarp bruising.