A week after Kenya banned export of avocados due to severe shortage, two farmers have filed a case in the High Court seeking to overturn the ban.
The ban by the east African nation threw the international market into limbo as severe shortage were experienced.
Kenya had stopped further exports of the fruit to protect its place in the market fearing that unscrupulous traders might dump immature crop in the international market which might see the blacklisting of the fruit.
The two farmers James Mwangi and Fredrick Munyua argue that the ban has caused small scale farmers immense losses.
When seeking to ban the export the Agriculture and Food Authority director Alfred Busolo said it was a bid to protect the industry.
“We have stopped the export of Fuerte and Hass varieties because traders would ship out immature crop because of high demand in the world market,” he said. The director promised to “lift (the ban) starting next month once harvesting starts.”
Kenya is the he world’s sixth largest producer of the fruit, and since it enacted the ban, the prices of avocado shot to an all-time high with the average price of a 90kg bag costing £17.91 (Sh2,560) in December, the highest price since May 2014, when it cost £18.87 (Sh2,700) per bag.
The move will see the prices shoot in the international markets as Kenya moves to safeguard its place.
Avocado is an extremely popular fruit in the east African nation and accounts for seven per cent of Kenya’s total fruit exports, having shipped just over 50,000 tonnes to foreign markets in 2016.
The current ban comes amid what is being dubbed the Great Avocado Depression of 2018 in Australia, which has seen cafes struggling to keep up with demand for the fruit during the harvest off-season.