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Farmers to peel, freeze avocados in stringent Chinese export rules



A logistical nightmare and the high costs of meeting tough conditions required for the export of Kenyan avocados to China are threatening to choke the lucrative deal inked last month.

The stringent conditions, which include requiring a farmer to peel and freeze the fruit before export, could lock out thousands of small-scale farmers who are eying the world’s largest market.

According to the rules seen by Saturday Nation, a farmer has to install machines and coolers for peeling and freezing of the fruit ahead of export.

They will have to freeze the peeled fruits to negative 30 degrees Celsius and chill further to negative 18 degrees while on transit to the destination.

This means that farmers will have to invest heavily in cold rooms and meticulously follow all the requirements to reap from the deal billed as the game changer in Kenya’s agriculture.

The peeling and freezing requirement adds to 56 steps a trader has to take shuttling from one government agency to another, to get an avocado export clearance.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) yesterday warned the conditions set by the Chinese might limit small-scale farmers’ access to the market.

“Given the requirements, most small-scale farmers cannot afford to sell their avocados to China,” Kephis Managing Director Esther Kimani said.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market

The peeling of the fruit before freezing is a new condition for the export of avocados. It is not in the regulations guiding export of the fruit to existing export markets, including the European Union, the Middle East and Asia.

Kenya’s journey to the 1.4 billion strong Chinese market has taken seven years as Beijing has been uncomfortable with the presence of fruit flies in Nairobi’s avocados.

It took an okay from Chinese inspectors in March and a visit to the Asian nation by President Kenyatta in April to unlock the avocado export deal.

The inspectors from the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation flew in to undertake a rigorous risk analysis including inspection of local avocado fruits, farms, laboratories and holding bays for the fruit at the airports.

While they gave a clean bill of health that led to the signing of the bilateral pact, the requirements they gave in order to have local avocados flown to Beijing are more stringent than those of the existing markets.

Stakeholders now fear the conditions could lock out thousands of Kenyan farmers targeted by the deal.

A kilogramme of avocado fetches up to Sh2,000 ($20) in China compared to Kenya’s Sh80 while avocado powder in the Asian country could earn up to Sh10,000 per kilo.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market

“If we do not comply, China will suspend the exports and continuous non- compliance will lead to a total ban,” warned Dr Kimani, saying Kephis had upped its antenna to protect the deal.

Mr Amos Wangora, the CEO of KenTrade, an agency that facilitates export business, said the way out for farmers was to pool together in cooperatives so as to enjoy the economies of scale around transport, refrigeration and other expenses.

Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK) chief executive Okisegere Ojepat said that the Chinese want frozen fruits because they are still wary of fruit flies, scales, and traceability issues.

“We hope to address these concerns in due course so that our fruits are fully accepted,” said Mr Ojepat who also sits in the Kephis committee on phytosanitary issues.

He noted that full benefits from the agreement could begin to be realised from next year, as the available fruits are not enough.

source:Daily Nation

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Keeping our family coffee business picking



When 41 -year-old Gitau Waweru Karanja was a boy, he recalls spending his school holidays in his grandfather’s coffee farm with his cousins. His late grandmother would push them to pick berries to earn pocket money. Though he took up his parents’ passion in interior design and studied Interior Design in Kwa Zulu Natal University in South Africa, he did he know that one day he would wake up and smell the coffee and participate in running his grandfather’s coffee farm.

Gitau is the third generation of his family to manage Karunguru Farm, which belonged to his late grandfather Geoffrey Kareithi. Kareithi had bought the 300-acre farm in Ruiru, from a white settler in 1972. Gitau is married to Wangeci Gitau who grew up in Maragwa, in Murang’a where they also had a coffee farm.

Values instilled

For Wangeci, despite growing up in the coffee fields, she was more passionate about tourism and was a travel consultant before becoming a tour manager at a local company.

In 2012, she got an ectopic pregnancy, which put her on bed rest and thus was compelled to quit her job. When she recovered, she began assisting her husband. “By that time, my husband was selling modern house doors, but the business took a while to pick. Then we began selling milk from Karunguru Farm, but the milk production went down in 2016. The management, comprising of family members, told us to address the issue by becoming dairy managers. But when we joined the management of Karunguru Farm, we saw an opportunity in coffee tours,” she says.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market

Taking cue from South Africa where they do wine tourism and also export wine, Gitau and his wife sought to use that knowledge in their coffee farm. “We started Karunguru Coffee and Tours after we found out that despite it being our main export, it was being underutilised when it comes to tourism. So, here we take visitors through the journey that coffee has to go through before getting to your cup,” explains Gitau. Everything is done in Karunguru Farm— including value addition such as processing coffee, drying and even roasting. “We have our very own packaged Karunguru Coffee, which is available in the market,” he adds.

Their late grandfather instilled in them a love for each other and every holiday it is the family culture to meet and bond as a family. The grandpa also ensured that the farm management is shared amongst all his seven children who meet every week to discuss the business of the farm. Once they come to an unanimous decision, it is then passed on to their children, who implements their decision.

Before one is given any role, you have _ . to be qualified for the position. “It’s not about being favoured, but your qualification. I am in tourism, so I handle the tourism aspect, my husband is in operations. In fact, one applies for the position and then you are interviewed. If you qualify, you are placed on probation until the management is satisfied that you can handle the role well,” says Wangeci.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market

No entitlement

What makes family business go down is the fact that people who are less qualified are employed. Other people have to cover up for their messes and this creates bitterness and conflict. Gitau sometimes watches his nephews and nieces in the farm, giving them roles to check out whether they have interest in the farm or not before beginning to mentor them. Everyone begins from the lowest level and must know how to roast, pack, as well as prepare a cup of Karunguru coffee. This is to en inculcate the spirit of appreciation and value for the workers employed to do the role.

“My uncles always tell us that we didn’t come in the business because we are their children, but because of the passion we had in the business. With that, entitlement is killed and we ensure that we do our best to take the farm to higher levels,” says Gitau

They don’t entertain gossip,  ‘‘ but if someone has an issue, I then the person is invited ‘ to a meeting where one is confronted and told in love where they have missed the mark.


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VIDEO: Inspiring Journey Taking Shape at Kiambu’s Top Gated Community



Amani Ridge the Place of Peace was extremely busy today as the Engineers set their focus on achieving the very best in preparing the roads to murrum standard, ready for cabro when time comes.

The following activities will follow:

1. Storm water drainage

2. Piping water along the main lines (those building will only need to pay for water meter)

3. Underground power will follow

4. Installation of solar street lights will be the next step

5. After this, planting of 2, 000 trees will follow along all the roads in the estate

6. The sewerage systems will be replaced by Water recycling technology as initially promised

We are committed to #GoingGreen

Become part of the Amani Ridge family today


Call: 0790 300 300 | 0723 400 500


READ ALSO:   Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market
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Big Smiles on the way for Garden of Joy Owners



A big announcement concerning the Garden of Joy gated community is set to be made this coming Friday, 23rd October 2020.

The planned announcement will be a cause of great joy for clients who have already made a decision to make the Garden of Joy their joyous home.

Those joining the success train later, will pay slightly higher for this property. We call it the ‘waiting-to-see-expense.’

If you are reading this message, go ahead and call your relationship advisor today to save the waiting cost and to become part of the joyous brigade.

Check us on FB Live on the 23rd October at 4PM as we unveil the greatest news at the Garden of Joy.

Secure your jewel today
Call us on: 0790300300 | 0723400500

READ ALSO:   Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market
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