Tanzania has banned a Kenyan firm from purchasing local avocados after the Ministry of Agriculture said it was engaging in illegal practices and operating without a permit.
Kandia Fresh Company, was banned from operating in Njombe, southern east Tanzania, after it was accused of purchasing premature fruits.
Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe said the ban was effected after the company allegedly bought unripe avocados and dumped them at the Njombe Town Council dumpsite.
"If that company exists in the country, blacklist it immediately, cancel their permission,” said Bashe.
He later ordered the arrest of a company’s employee, David Sifuna Barasa, who was involved in the purchase of the avocados in question from middlemen and without a permit.
Asked why he bought unripe avocados, Barasa explained that the products were harvested in good condition but were poorly handled.
The minister directed agricultural extension officers and other government officials to always visits farms and stop the harvesting of unripe avocados.
Njombe District Commissioner Kissa Kasongwa said that the two middlemen have also been arrested for crop cess evasion and purchase of produce without a permit from the government.
They were also fined Tshs300,000 ($12.82).
Avocado is quickly becoming Tanzania’s new green gold. According to the Tanzania Horticultural Association, Tanzania exported over 11,237 tonnes of avocados worth $33 million in 2021.
It is expcted to export 15,000 tonnes this year, thus generating $45 million in foreign currency. Figures show Europe imports 85 percent of Tanzanian avocado shipments. France imported the most, followed by the Netherlands and the UK.