Home Business Kakuzi Announces Free Maturity Testing Services For Smallholder Avocado Farmers

Kakuzi Announces Free Maturity Testing Services For Smallholder Avocado Farmers

by Femme Staff
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Kakuzi Plc has announced that it will offer free maturity testing services to smallholder avocado farmers in the local area. This move coincides with the beginning of the new avocado harvesting season, which was officially declared by the Agriculture and Food Authority’s Horticultural Crops Directorate. The AFA has also provided technical guidance on maturity parameters for this season.

According to the principles of HCD, avocados should only be harvested once they have reached maturity, as determined by a minimum dry matter standard of 24%. In a recent public notice, the Directorate further stated that harvesting avocados at this recommended stage of maturity, with more than 24% dry matter content, can help to reduce the fruit’s susceptibility to mesocarp bruising.

As part of their efforts to support the local and export markets with high-quality avocado fruits, Kakuzi has committed to offering preharvest maturity testing services at their FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management Systems certified Kakuzi Avocado Processing and Packhouse facility, located near Makuyu town along the Nairobi-Nyeri highway. Farmers will be provided with detailed pre-harvest reports on the quality and maturity of their fruit samples.

The Managing Director of Kakuzi Plc, Mr. Christopher Flowers, has announced that the company will offer laboratory-based testing services to smallholder farmers as part of their commitment to national quality assurance. Despite the harvest season opening soon, Mr. Flowers stated that Kakuzi will not begin harvesting its Hass Avocado variety fruit crop until late May.

Mr. Flowers expressed Kakuzi’s satisfaction that the regulator has provided guidelines for strict adherence to maturity parameters. He also stated that the company is prepared to offer free maturity testing services for smallholder farmers at their GlobalGAP-certified Makuyu Packhouse laboratories.

He added, “We believe the free maturity testing services will guide local farmers wishing to harvest their avocado fruit crops. As avocado farmers, big or small, we must appreciate that every fruit we deliver to the local or export market carries the Kenya quality reputation, and that’s got to be our enduring objective; giving our customers a fruit they want more of while sustaining the Kenyan market and brand positioning.”

Taking advantage of the smallholder farmers’ free maturity testing services will help minimise post-harvest losses while enhancing the farmers’ technical skills.

According to the public notice issued by HCD, determining the appropriate stage of maturity for avocado fruit during growth and development is challenging as there are no apparent indications that suggest when the fruit is ready for harvesting. Moreover, the quality of the fruit cannot be improved after it has been picked, which is why it is crucial to ensure that it meets the necessary marketing requirements before harvesting. If immature avocados are harvested, it can have a negative impact on the fruit’s quality, resulting in an unpleasant taste, watery or rubbery texture, and lack of flavor.

To improve compliance with maturity requirements, HCD has enlisted the help of avocado exporters and Horticultural Produce Marketing Agents (HPMAS). The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) is calling on all individuals and organizations involved in the avocado value chain to follow production and post-harvest handling guidelines. This will guarantee that consumers have a satisfying experience when consuming Kenyan avocados and keep Kenya’s avocado industry competitive on the global stage.

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