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Avocados and Maersk grow Kenyan economy

 

According to the World Economic Forum, agriculture amounts to half of Kenyan GDP and employs 75 percent of the country's workforce. It wouldn't have happened without logistics.

Thanks to Maersk, during the past four years the Kenyan avocado industry has been able to increase its transit times from 10 to 40 days to reach premium European markets via Mombasa while avoiding fast ripening.

Beth Wanjiku Ihomba, a Maersk Line sales executive explains: "The world market has opened up to us thanks to Maersk Line's reefers. Ten days used to be the limit. Now we can carry the fruit for 25 days to Europe, and even 40 days to Russia. During July's peak season each container will be carrying up to 100,000 avocados. Without those reefers we would be doing something else," adds Peter Nderu, a director and partner at Keitt Exports in Nairobi.

In the next decade new avocado fields are expected to more than double Kenya's current production and small-scale farmers will be the main driver.

Ihomba adds: "We want to be first wherever avocados are grown. We tie up everything with the exporters, we partner with farmers, and we help with the technology. What we realised is when you begin with someone when they are just starting up, they stay with you forever."

In June last year, she arranged the first five reefers with avocados from Moshi in Northen Tanzania. "If Tanzania comes on board, we would be doing two seasons, and believe me, we could easily more than double our volumes and hit 2,000 reefers."

 

 

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