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Kenyan Top Stories

Telling Kenyan Stories

One On One With Ernest Muthomi


Apr 10, 2024

How do you think you can be able to market this particular crop to other countries that are not Avocado consumers?
First, we must really appreciate this initiative by Asnet,the Indian Commission,
because it brings together people that can work together.For us, we are grateful that the Indian market is now open.As you are aware, India is among the highest-public and countries and continents.And therefore, it’s really a big opportunity for us.I see a big opportunity because of the numbers and also the versatility of the avocado,that acceptance of the avocado in the Indian market is now gaining prominence.Our major and very main ask is for India to reconsider waving duty on Kenyan avocados.We have had long three relationships between Kenyan and India.
Our trade balance is in favor of India.
And we really like them to consider us for duty free access.So that we can compete with the rest of the people.I don’t know how India came to think and classify Kenyan as a developed country,
and Tanzania, not a developed country.
Because this is now forcing our people to cross with the avocados through the border and then trade them as Tanzania and I think it’s something that can be discussed between the two governments.
Now that we are in the avocados season,
and we are getting a lot of inquiries, a lot of requests from the Indian consumers
on our very delicious avocados that they should at least extend this gesture of generosity by making Kenyan avocados duty free.Besides other requirements, like requesting our avocados to be fumigated.
Again, this is becoming a trade barrier.
Because we are exporting avocados all over the world.I mean, we have been exporting avocados to Europe.
And Middle East, for more than that years.
And Europe has never made such a demand to fumigate our avocados.
We know that Medell-Bromit, according to mental protocol, is a restricted product,
which is not good for our environment.
So India should also consider that.
It’s a product that has a risk to the ozone layer,as a risk to human health safety.
So it’s something that they should not be asking Kenyans to use to treat,especially food products with.So the figures last year, on March 31st, December 2023,
the avocados that were exported to India.
We only did a trial, try export.I mean, you all probably witnessed the first consignments that were shipped into India,
which was just trial.This is the time we have started shipping.I think we’ve done about three containers this year.I mean, beginning March, we intend to do more but then that restriction about duty and levies of 30% is making some of our people prefer exporting avocados from Tanzania to India.So we would have taken advantage if not for the duty that the Indian government is charging us.

So many people love your leadership maybe we can tell us the secrets to your success:My secret is passion.I mean, I am an agronomist, and I’m also passionate about livelihoods.I got an award as a champion for change and I believe through the avocados, we can change livelihoods.
We can create jobs for the youth.We can create industries.It’s a value chain that has a lot of potential.So I am committed to the goal, to see that for the time that I’m the CEO of the Avocado Society,we are able to do something that is going to be remarkable in this country.

How is the market in Europe currently?
The market in Europe is good.
We have the challenge, of course, with the root, with the voyages,arriving longer than expected, which is posing a challenge.
Of course, that is something that is not just affecting Kenya,We have been assured that governments are on the way, and this matter will be sorted out.We want to give assurance that during our avocados,
Africa Congress, we will be releasing some information and having some media releases on some of the challenges that are affecting avocados,not just in Kenya, but in the region.But also opportunities that we have. and I invite you guys to be some of our media partners because for the fourth time now, we are going to have international conversations and opportunities in the value chain.

So which is the biggest market for Kenya, Avocados?
Our biggest market is in Europe, definitely.When I talk about Europe,
Europe plus UK,but mostly we export through Netherlands,and then Netherlands is able to distribute to the rest of the countries,just like we do our flowers.
So we can talk about Netherlands,we can talk about Spain,we can go to Belgium, Italy, UK, France.This are some of our big buyers and of course, our neighbors across here, the EU.
Of course, now we have China and India as the newest markets.
We are exploring other markets like Malaysia as well.
No, we share the same,
we are continuing to see neighbors,
so we can always see our values there.
But with our growing population,
there is work to be done.
And that’s why we are asking for collaboration.
We are asking for duty free access
so that we can grow those two markets.
I mean, because Avocados are not native to Asia.
But because of the way the populations
in those countries have been exposed to travel,
they have come across the Avocados.
So we have seen a lot of demand
from some of these young populations,
and of course, income-rich continents,
like the Asian continent.
So that is where we want to venture and grow our markets.

What can you do like your legacy to be?
That Kenya will be the greatest Avocados country on Earth.

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