Kakuzi celebrates opening of Lamu port as avocado cargo sets sail to France
Kakuzi PLC on Thursday celebrated the operationalisation of the new Lamu port with an inaugural 80-ton cargo of avocados destined for France.
Fresh avocados grown at the Kakuzi PLC Makuyu orchards are part of the cargo loaded on cargo ship MV Seago Bremerhaven which docked at the port of Lamu en-route France.
Kakuzi MD Chris Flowers said the operationalisation of the port provides wider benefits for agribusiness firms that import farm inputs and export produce.
“As a truly Kenyan agribusiness firm, we are excited at the operationalisation of the first berth at the Port of Lamu. This development begins to crystallise the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Corridor project, which will benefit Kenyan producers immensely and congratulate the Government and the Kenya Ports Authority among the other development partners for this milestone,” Flowers said.
Grown in Makuyu, Murang’a County, the Kakuzi avocado fruit, Flowers said, is steadily enjoying market preference due to its high quality.
“Our location provides a temperate climate which is perfectly suited to the production of avocado. From seedling to fork, we have full control over the entire value chain, ensuring complete traceability and a high quality product,” he said.
He disclosed that the Kenyan integrated agro-business firm had loaded five containers of Hass variety avocados aboard the container ship MV Seago Bremerhaven destined for the Port of Marseille-Fos, France.
Each container is a 40-foot shipping container with a controlled atmosphere cooling system that keeps the air at 6 degrees and scrubs the air to prevent the fruit from ripening before it arrives.
On average, each container holds about 20,000 kilos of fruit packed into 4-kilo cartons. There are about 5,200 cartons in each container.
During the listed firm’s recent 93rd Annual General Meeting, Kakuzi PLC confirmed plans to strengthen its Avocado smallholder base as part of a shared prosperity business plan.
Alongside the smallholder development plans, the firm focuses on agricultural production expansion and diversification projects for its macadamia, blueberry, livestock and commercial forestry business lines.
The firm will this year invest more than Ksh. 400million in capital expenditures (CAPEX) while focusing on upscaling its smallholder operations value to complement its production capacities and boost the global positioning of Kenyan avocados.
It’s critical that the markets only receive good quality fruits from Kenya, and to achieve this, building knowledge of the market requirements amongst farmers is very important, Kakuzi said.