In a momentous achievement, Rwandan producer SOUK Farms proudly announced the export of its first container of avocados to Europe this week.
According to freshplaza.com, the milestone was commemorated at a special event in Kigali, where the Kingdom of Netherlands Ambassador to Rwanda graced the occasion as the guest of honor.
Seun Rasheed, CEO of SOUK Farms, told Freshplaza, “We are extremely happy to have achieved this breakthrough. This inaugural shipment is the culmination of many years of work, and just the beginning of a promising journey. The steady growth of avocado exports from Rwanda over the past five years reflects our country’s commitment to planting over a million trees a year, focusing on the Hass and Fuerte varieties.” Looking back on the kick-off of the SOUK Farms avocado’s entry in the European market, made official in Kigali on October 24, Seun says,
“At the ceremony, we also celebrated a successful partnership, as the shipment was made possible through a collaborative effort between our project partners, including Maersk, IDH, Flying Swans, the National Agriculture Export Board of Rwanda (NAEB) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda. This multi-faceted partnership played a crucial role in turning our trial container into a reality.”
“The trial shipment, sent to the Netherlands for onward distribution to retailers in several European countries, consists of 22.4 tonnes of the premium variety of Hass avocado, with a well-balanced size distribution from size 16 to size 24. As soon as the trial shipment was sent, we received a second order, which testifies to the confidence our customers place in us and the excellence of our product,” adds Seun.
The avocado industry in Rwanda, a relatively new player in the international exotic fruit market, benefits from a favorable climate, local agronomic expertise, and government attention. “Moreover, the main advantage of the Rwandan avocado is its seasonality, while volumes supplied by international competitors are at their lowest,” says the exporter.
“Given the favorable seasonality of Rwandan avocados, which thrive from October to April, we expect Europe to become a key destination market for our avocados. Building on the success of this trial, we plan to export up to 120 tonnes of avocados to Europe by the end of the next season, enabling Rwanda to be considered as a source of supply for the European market.”
This shipment comes exactly one year after the first shipment of avocados exported by a consortium of exporters from Rwanda, including SOUK Farms, to the Middle East via Dubai. “On the Middle East market front too, we continue to capitalize on our proven customer satisfaction and supply this equally important market,” concludes Seun.