NAIROBI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of fresh avocados grown in Kenya and destined for the Chinese market was flagged off Tuesday at a ceremony attended by senior government officials, diplomats, and industry executives.
Kenya became the first African country to export fresh avocados to China in a move set to further boost the economic ties between the two countries.
David Osiany, the Chief Administrative Secretary for the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development said that by exporting fresh avocados to China, Kenya's foreign exchange earnings were set to spike and unleash economic vitality in the country.
"The export of fresh avocados to China is a monumental feat that will boost our economy and benefit key players across the avocado value chain including farmers," said Osiany.
Other dignitaries who attended the flagging-off ceremony included Zhang Yijun, Minister Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya.
"We believe that Kenya's fresh avocados export to China has huge potential," Zhang said.
Senior officials drawn from regulatory agencies, industry leaders, and farmers' representatives graced the ceremony which set the stage for the bulk export of fresh avocados to China.
Chinese firm Greechain has inked a deal with its Kenyan counterpart, Sunripe to facilitate the shipment of fresh avocados. This has come after the two countries in January signed two protocols to foster bilateral trade in avocados and aquatic products.
Under the two protocols, Kenya received a green light to commence the export of avocados that meet phytosanitary standards set by Chinese regulators.
The General Administration of Customs of China in partnership with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service has been involved in certifying the safety and quality standards of avocados grown by local farmers before their export to the Asian country.
Garry Du, the Managing Director of Greechain said that thorough inspection combined with investment in advanced cold chain technology paved way for the export of Kenya's fresh avocado to China.
Kenya is among the world's top avocado producers, ranking number one last year in Africa in the export of the fruit valued for its nutritional and medicinal properties.
Benjamin Tito, the Director of the Horticultural Crops Directorate, said that in July, the country exported 11.2 million kilograms of avocado, earning 1.5 billion shillings (12.6 million U.S. dollars) to the exchequer.