The Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Service (PQPS) of the Ministry of Agriculture has approved the first consignment of over 37 metric tons of avocados grown in Zambia for export to European countries.
Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Mr Green Mbozi says the move is significant as it will present more opportunities for the local famers, “This huge consignment of avocados destined for the European market marks a massive opportunity for avocado farmers in Zambia to access regional and international markets.”
In a statement made available to the Zambian Business Times- ZBT, Ministry of Agriculture Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Service (PQPS) Director, Dr Kenneth Msiska has revealed that Zambia is almost concluding with the authorities in South Africa to start exporting avocados to that country. In witness of the commencement of the avocado export at Circle Transtra International Ltd in Lusaka, Dr Msiska disclosed that currently, South Africa leads the region with an 8kg per capita consumption of avocados. Zambian avocado farmers are aiming to meet the growing demand for fruit not only in South Africa but in other far-reaching markets such as Europe.
Buttermere Farms is one of the farms supplying avocados for this particular export. The farm which is located in Central Province’s Kabwe town boasts over 38,000 avocado trees. Speaking at the official send-off of the export, Buttermere Farms Representative Mr Pierre Vercueil highlighted that, “this is the first round of avocado export since the farm started 11- years ago. We are excited and proud to be a part of this unique and important export. It is not only about farming; it is about the logistical partnerships and about markets, the rules and regulations that are in place to be able to conduct such an export”.
The Ministry of Agriculture hopes that this export of Zambian avocados to regional and international markets sparks more export activity within the local avocado farming community. “Zambia’s tropical climate is ideal for growing Hass avocado which is the most popular commercial avocado in the world.” Said Dr Kenneth Msiska. Dr Msiska added that many local farmers are expected to benefit from the Zambian export of avocados to regional and international markets.
The avocado export has been possible through combined efforts by corporations namely Stone House Commodities Ltd, Circle Transtra International Ltd, First Capital Bank, AfriAg Marketing, Buttermere Farms and Tropical Fruit Company of the Netherlands. The Ministry of Agriculture has commended these corporations for their tenacity in creating a value chain in the Zambian agricultural market.