KENYA – Listed agribusiness and superfoods producer, Kakuzi PLC, is gearing up for the upcoming avocado export season in Kenya by offering free avocado maturity testing services to smallholder farmers.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) through its Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) announced the opening of the avocado export season on March 1, 2024, subject to strict compliance with prescribed maturity and market access standards.

Kakuzi PLC Managing Director, Chris Flowers, expressed the company’s commitment to supporting smallholder farmers in adhering to the regulatory requirements outlined by AFA-HCD.

Starting next week, the company will provide free avocado maturity testing services at its FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management Systems certified Avocado Processing and Packhouse facility near Makuyu town, along the Nairobi-Nyeri highway.

Flowers emphasized Kakuzi’s dedication to shared prosperity, stating, “For shared prosperity, we shall be providing free Avocado maturity testing services for all smallholder farmers to ensure compliance with the regulatory, national, and international market requirements.”

He stressed the need to uphold phytosanitary, environmental, social, and governance standards to safeguard Kenya’s favorable international market position for quality avocado production.

Kakuzi has already conducted internal maturity testing at its Quality Control Room within the Global GAP-certified Makuyu Packhouse and is poised to commence its HASS avocado harvests in compliance with regulations.

In line with AFA-HCD directives, all avocado export produce will undergo inspection by AFA-HCD inspectors, and exporters must apply for inspection at least three days before shipment.

Product traceability will be ensured by the submission of a list of Horticultural Produce Marketing Agents (HPMA) or suppliers by February 26, 2024.

The authorities have also issued warnings of penalties for transporting avocados without crates or on open pick-up trucks, emphasizing adherence to Horticulture Regulations.

In a separate development, Kakuzi PLC reinforces its dedication to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards with a significant investment of KES 250 million (USD 1.63 million).

Managing Director Chris Flowers highlighted the importance of ESG practices in meeting global client expectations, supporting local communities, and addressing stakeholder concerns.

The investment aims to enhance ESG and sustainability practices throughout Kakuzi’s supply chain. Flowers emphasized the potential adverse impact on Kenya’s agricultural exports if ESG standards are neglected, noting their crucial role in enhancing the value of the country’s agricultural products on the global stage.

Speaking at the FRUIT LOGISTICA exhibition in Berlin, Germany, Flowers emphasized the need for active involvement and capacity building among local stakeholders to ensure national compliance with ESG standards.

He stated, “Upholding ESG standards should be a key national branding pillar to ensure that all agribusiness firms align with global sustainable guidelines closely monitored by international buyers.”

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