Avocado sales to China are expected to be more than double this year as demand continues to grow for the fruit from the country’s expanding middle-class population. It appears to just double every year. And, the pace of growth shows no sign of slowing as more health-conscious consumers in the world’s most populous nation show an interest in the “heart-healthy” avocados, executives say. The fruit also appeals to “young, trendy people,” said Barnard.
One big beneficiary of the growing demand is Kenya, the greatest avocado producer in Africa. The Chinese market has been growing at a very fast pace. Avocado has evolved into a trending ingredient worldwide and has particular resonance in China and Russia— where it’s commonly known as butter fruit — due to its somewhat exotic positioning.
Most of the demand in China is from urban consumers in the largest cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Chinese millennials who have traveled overseas also are helping to grow the market. Demand for avocados also is strong in Japan and other parts of Europe such as Netherlands.
Russia and Italy are key destinations of the green skins in Europe. Italy is yet to make a mark in the Kenya avocado scene as Russia has done. This is why the bulk of local Fuerte goes to Asian destinations.
Italy and Russia are among the key buyers of Avocado in Europe. However, Italy is yet to position itself in the Kenya avocado scene compared to Russia. This is more of a reason why most of our fuerte goes to Asian countries.
According to Selina Wamucii, a company that sources fresh produce from farmers, Kenya Avocados’ impressive volumetric growth rate per year and access to new markets has helped the country to overtake South Africa as the number one exporter of avocados from Africa. According to Trade statistics from International Trade Centre (ITC), the East African country became the 11th largest exporter avocados in the world in 2017, exporting a record volume of 51, 507 tons to the world. South Africa, traditionally the lead exporter of avocados from the continent, relinquished the position and trailed Kenya for the first time in five years with 43, 492 tons.
Statistically, as the top performer in the Africa avocado exporting industry, Kenya holds 1.3% of the total world volume. South Africa follows by 1.1 percent, a depreciation from the 2016 peak of 1.6% when it was Africa’s export champion. Even though these two countries’ figures are a far cry from the 48.4 percent market share of Mexico, they are nonetheless impressive for each country. While Kenya boasts new markets like the Russian Federation and South-east Asia, South Africa has over 90% of its exports going to European Union countries, (ITC 2018).
Why farmers should plant more Avocado
There is no other perfect time to invest in avocado like this time. Kenya has not only attracted avocado export to South Africa, but has also overtaken S.A in terms of export to become number one in the continent.
We are in a very strong position to sustain avocado export dominance in Africa. With players such as Oxfarm, Kakuzi Ltd, Selina Wamucii and the likes who source avocado from farmers, will surprise the world. The Kenya’s small-scale farmers are the backbone of this country and with right information and management, our future is secure.