Stakeholders have raised an alarm after contraband exports from Kenya were spotted at supermarkets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cities, including Dubai.
According to the Avocado Society of Kenya (ASK), unscrupulous traders shipped immature avocados disguised as mangoes to the UAE despite a ban put in place by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).
“We call on supermarkets in UAE to remove these contraband avocados from their shelves immediately,” the associations warned businesses in the UAE.
It further clarified that avocadoes meant for consumption should have a dry matter of at least 24 per cent and that those displayed in UAE risked rotting due to increased moisture.
Avocado fruits packed in cartons ready for exportation
Furthermore, it added that certain machines can be used to measure whether the avocado is safe for consumption if a buyer cannot predict the same through sight.
“We have contacts in the UAE. The importers are not happy with these illegal, poor-quality exports,” the Avocado Society of Kenya (ASK) lamented.
It further advised non-ASK members against rushing to acquire new clients at the expense of tarnishing the country’s reputation.
“There is currently an avocado export restriction to allow the fruits to mature. We want our consumers in UAE to enjoy our fruit at the right dry matter,” ASK commented.
The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) banned the export of avocados to allow the fruits to mature before resuming the trade. Traders exporting the Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo avocados were the hardest hit by the directive.
“Following the findings of the survey, we hereby notify the Kenyan avocado stakeholders that the closing of Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo harvesting season and export by sea for the 2023/2024 fiscal year shall be in force with effect from November 3, 2023,” AFA Director-General Willis Audi stated on November 7, 2023, following the ban.
However, ever since, some of the players in the market have been trying to circumvent the order to earn an income.
Avocado fruits packed in crates ready for transportation