KEPHIS Phytosanitary GM Dr. Isaac Macharia confers with Kakuzi Plc MD Chris Flowers.

Listed agribusiness firm Kakuzi Plc has secured six nominations in the Avocado Industry Excellence Awards 2022, organized by the Avocado Society of Kenya.

Kakuzi has been nominated in the Growers category (Kakuzi Nursery), Large scale exporters (more than 200containers) category, Large scale orchards (more than 100 acres) category, and in the Auxiliary services category featuring the-Kakuzi packhouse.

The firm's leadership, led by Managing Director Christopher Flowers, has been nominated in the Avocado Person of the Year category, while former Chief Operating Officer Richard Collins has been nominated for the Lifetime achievement award.

Speaking when he welcomed the firm's nomination in six categories, Flowers explained that the firm has stepped up canopy management strategies on its mature avocado crop to mitigate the bearing cycles risk and enhance productivity.

"At Kakuzi, we are humbled for the six nominations in the forthcoming Avocado Industry Excellence Awards 2022, which are a tribute to our continuous efforts to expand the value of avocado growing and sales locally and internationally," Flowers said.

He added that, "We have a thriving new but still immature avocado development area (about 373 hectares), with production expected in the coming seasons. The new Avocado development area established this year covering more than 60 hectares is also thriving very well in an area previously under pineapple production," he remarked. 

The increased demand for superfoods regionally and domestically has also provided new opportunities to develop diverse consumer product ranges, including uplifting the quality and value of our sustainably-grown timber products.

Alongside recent exports to the Chinese market, Kakuzi is also mulling other opportunities to Malaysia as part of ongoing trade facilitation efforts by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

KEPHIS, the national plant health regulatory agency, has been engaging counterpart agencies in important target markets in the Far East to secure a broader international market footprint.

Malaysia's National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) recently concluded pest risk and field assessments at Kakuzi Orchards as part of the bilateral engagements.

The Malaysian market opportunity for Kakuzi will further boost the firm's growing market footprint. Buoyed by increased sales, particularly against the firm's strategic Avocado and Macadamia crops and steadily growing revenues from its market and product diversification efforts, Kakuzi reported a 60% rise in its half-year pre-tax profits.

National data published in the Kenya Economic Survey 2021 confirm that earnings from exports of horticultural produce increased by 3.9 per cent from KSh 144.6B in 2019 to KSh 150.2B in 2020.

With the introduction of new high-potential markets such as China, the value of horticultural exports is expected to grow, occasioning a positive economic ripple effect.

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