[Photo/ Courtesy]

Kenyan integrated agro-business firm Kakuzi PLC has become one of the first local entities to secure approval from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), to process and prepare export-grade fresh avocados for the Chinese market.

The firm has secured its KEPHIS approval following a stringent phytosanitary audit for its extensive Kakuzi farms and packhouse.

The approval comes hot on the heels of the recent signing of two bilateral trade protocols to facilitate the export of fresh avocados and aquatic products from Kenya to China. As part of the implementation of the protocols, KEPHIS has been undertaking facility audits to ensure the integrity of local packhouses earmarked to provide packaging solutions for avocado exports.

Kakuzi Plc Managing Director Mr Chris Flowers said the Kakuzi fresh produce Packhouse and Orchards near Makuyu town had been inspected and found to be compliant with the high international standards.

“We recently were subjected to a series of random and procedural inspections by KEPHIS, and I am glad to announce that the Kakuzi’s orchards and Packhouse are among the first approved large scale farming and packing operations, cleared for the Chinese market,” Flowers said.

“At the Makuyu facility and Orchards, we maintain world-class phytosanitary standards for our exports to Europe, and the KEPHIS approval further serves to underscore our quality commitments.”

Kenya and China signed bilateral agreements allowing the export of avocado products during an official local visit by the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Last January.

Last year, Kakuzi received an unconditional renewal on a crucial globally recognised agricultural food quality certification. As part of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm’s quality management assurance endeavours, Kakuzi received the GLOBALG.A.P. version 5.2 certificate following a recent production and processing procedures audit.

GLOBALG.A.P. is a private-sector body that sets voluntary standards (based on Good Agricultural Practices) for certifying agricultural products around the globe.

The GLOBALG.A.P. certification, a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked standard, allows Kakuzi PLC to produce Avocados to access the European market with a recognised mark of quality issued by NSF Certification Ltd, a UK based certification body.

“At Kakuzi PLC, we have invested more than Kshs 200 million in the last one year to guarantee quality production and environmental management practices leading to such certifications as the GLOBALG.A.P. To attain such a globally recognized certification, it calls for sustained co-operation and commitments by all our stakeholders to maintain the highest possible production and environmental management standards,” Flowers said.

“To ensure that our locally produced fruits meet the global standard, we have continued to invest in globally benchmarked staff training and production facilities and practices making us a truly Kenyan but world-class agro-business firm.”

Alongside the GLOBALG.A.P. certification, Kakuzi PLC has secured several local and international operating accreditations’ including the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) Diamond Mark of Quality and the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management systems certifying that quality Kakuzi food products are produced with a minimal detrimental impact to the environment and that the firm takes a responsible approach to workplace health & safety and animal welfare.

Read: Kakuzi Issues Profit Warning For 2021 On Reduced Avocado Production

>>> Kakuzi Scoops 4 Awards During The Kenya Avocado Industry Excellence Awards


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