The Avocado Association of Kenya (ASOK) faces a significant setback as the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) announces its decision to deregister the association. The move comes in response to allegations of misconduct and violation of membership laws.
According to citizen.digital, In a letter dated Monday, January 15, 2024, AFA’s Horticultural Crops Directorate accused the Association of online misinformation and miscommunication on the avocado export business.
According to the State agency, ASOK – though its CEO Ernest Muthomi – has been attacking fruit exporters, an action it says threatens multi-billion deals with avocado buyers especially in the Middle East.
AFA also alleged that ASOK has been advertising the export of immature avocados to regional and international markets despite the Authority closing avocado harvesting season and export by sea in November last year.
ASOK is further alleged to have told importers that the Kenyan avocado in their markets was contraband and that they should be removed from supermarkets.
The Authority thus blames ASOK for failing to use the right communication channels as well as spreading information which might damage the reputation of the exporting industries.
“The conduct of ASOK and its leadership is counter-productive to the growth and development of the entire horticulture industry and hurts Kenya’s trade ties with other countries, especially on the export of horticultural commodities,” AFA Horticultural Crops Directorate Acting Director Christine Chesaro stated.
“Kenya is the number one exporter of avocadoes in Africa and number six in the world contributing to a foreign currency earning of over Ksh.19 billion annually.”
Ms. Chesaro added: “The Authority pursuant to the Crops (Horticultural Crops) Regulations 2020, para. 13, sub-sections (1, 2) and (3) is hereby officially deregistering ASOK and ceases to recognize it as an Industry Association w. e. f 15th day of January 2024.”
She consequently called off all business operations with ASOK in what she said would help safeguard the reputation of the horticulture industry and that of the country.