According to a report on the Business Daily, the average price of a 90-kilogramme bag of avocado shot up to KSh2,560 ($25) in December, making it the highest cost of the commodity since May 2014, when a bag was selling for slightly above KSh2,700 ($27).
The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) says the increase in the price of the fruit is due to the severe shortage of popular varieties, Fuerte and Hass, which are off-season.
“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 said AFA director-general Alfred Busolo.
“The shortage is not only in Kenya, but also globally. This is the reason why the prices have gone up,” added Mr Busolo. The ban on exports was effected in December.
“Fuerte variety will start getting to the market next month while Hass will be in supply in March, bridging the current deficit and reversing prices to the previous lows,” he said.
The avocado fruit contributes seven per cent of Kenya’s total fruit export to the global market. Its production has however been static over the years with 230,948 tonnes being produced in 2015 and 246,057 tonnes in 2016.
According to data by the AFA, about 387.2 tonnes worth KSh5.4 billion ($52 million) were exported in 2016, compared to 461.1 tonnes worth KSh7.1 billion ($70 million) in 2017.
Kenya’s horticulture sector is one of the country’s largest sources of foreign exchange earnings raking in KSh101 billion ($100 million) in 2016.
The avocado fruit has become a favourite as a compliment among many Kenyan dishes with most households blending it with other foods or just eat it plain.