Tanzania recently put a stop to a Kenyan company called Kandia Fresh from buying avocados from their country. The Ministry of Agriculture accused the company of buying avocados that were too young and not yet ripe. They then threw away these immature fruits in a dumpsite in Njombe, southeast Tanzania.
The Tanzanian Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, took action against the company, immediately blacklisting it and canceling its permit. One of the company’s employees, David Sifuna Barasa, was also arrested for buying avocados from middlemen without the proper permit. When questioned, Barasa claimed that the fruits had been harvested in good condition but were not handled properly.
To prevent similar illegal practices, the minister directed agricultural extension officers and other government officials to visit farms and stop the harvesting of unripe avocados. Additionally, two middlemen were arrested for crop cess evasion and purchasing produce without a government permit. They were fined Tsh300,000 ($12.82).
Tanzania has seen a rise in avocado exports, with over 11,237 tonnes of avocados worth $33 million exported in 2021. The country is projected to export 15,000 tonnes of avocados in 2023, generating $45 million in foreign currency. The majority of Tanzanian avocado shipments are imported by Europe, with France importing the most, followed by the Netherlands and the UK
This story was first published in The EastAfrican