Kenyan avocado farmers are urged to explore the burgeoning avocado market in Qatar as an alternative to the oversaturated Dubai market. Okisegere Ojepat, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), highlighted that Qatar is now accepting avocados through the fully operational Hamad Port, reducing reliance on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Qatar, which traditionally sources avocados from Uganda, Peru, South Africa, America, Mexico, and Lebanon, has seen a growing demand, reaching over 3,000 tonnes in 2021—a 17 percent increase from the previous year. The country has the highest avocado consumption in the Arab region relative to its population, with demand increasing fivefold since 2013.

Ojepat emphasized the need for Kenyan farmers to adhere to international standards to tap into the Qatar market. Kenya has actively sought to expand its avocado market, with Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi announcing new trade opportunities at the International Horticultural Expo 2023 in Doha.

Kenya, a leading avocado producer in Africa, exports to various countries, including the Netherlands, the UAE, China, France, Spain, Turkey, the European Union, and the United States. The Agricultural Food Authority (AFA) reports annual avocado exports of up to 20,000 metric tonnes to the EU and the Middle East.

The decision to close the 2023/2024 fiscal year avocado season in late 2023 aimed to prevent the export of immature fruits, preserving the country’s export market. Kenya’s horticultural exports have steadily risen, reaching Sh157 billion in 2023, with the EU market capturing 50.1 percent of the share.

Major export destinations include the Netherlands, the UK, France, the UAE, and Germany, with the flowers sub-sector leading at 70 percent, followed by vegetables at 18 percent and fruits at 12 percent of the total horticultural produce shipped.

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