Kenyan government bans avocado exports following a shortage that has raised prices

An avocado in Nairobi's retail markets is selling for between Sh50 and Sh80 up from between Sh10 and Sh20

This has in turn seen the price of the fruit rise to a three-and-a-half-year high with an avocado in Nairobi's retail markets going selling for between Sh50 and Sh80 up from between Sh10 and Sh20 each during high season.

Likewise, the average price of a 90-kilogramme bag of avocado shot up to Sh2,560 in December, making it the highest cost of the commodity since May 2014, when a bag was selling for slightly above Sh2,700.

“We have stopped the export of Fuerte and Hass varieties because traders would ship out immature crop because of high demand in the world market. However, we’re going to lift (the ban) starting next month once harvesting starts,” said Alfred Busolo,director-general of Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) under which the Directorate of Horticulture falls.

He however says the shortage is expected to ease starting next month when the new season crop will start hitting the market.

The Jumbo avocado variety is currently the only one available in the market. And despite being in supply throughout the year, it is not as popular as Fuerte and Hass.

Avocado is highly popular on Kenyans’ dining tables. Most households blend it with other foods or eat it plain.

The fruit contributes seven per cent of Kenya’s total fruit export to the global market but production has been static over the years. Farm production stood at 230,948 tonnes in 2015, rising slightly to 246,057 tonnes in 2016.

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