Kakuzi is a Kenyan agricultural cultivation and manufacturing company that has established itself as the leading exporter of avocados in Kenya. The company has been in operation for over a century and has grown to become one of the largest agricultural companies in the country.
Kakuzi has a reputation for producing high-quality avocados that are in high demand in both local and international markets. The company has full control over the entire value chain, from seedling to fork, ensuring complete traceability and quality assurance. As a result, Kakuzi has been able to dominate the avocado export market in Kenya, accounting for a significant portion of the country’s avocado exports.
In recent years, Kakuzi has been seeking to diversify its exports by expanding into new markets and introducing new products. The company has confirmed plans to double avocado exports to China, following an engagement with a major Chinese importer of fresh fruits and vegetables. With its strong reputation and experience in the agricultural industry, Kakuzi is well-positioned to continue its growth and expansion in the years to come.
History of Kakuzi
Kakuzi Limited is a Kenyan agricultural company that was incorporated in 1927. The company is listed on both the Nairobi and London Stock Exchange and engages in the cultivation, processing, and marketing of various agricultural products, including avocados, blueberries, macadamia, tea, livestock, and commercial forestry.
However, the company’s history dates back to 1919 when it was incorporated under the name Kakuzi Fiberlands Limited. At the time, it had interests in sisal and coffee, and it neighbored Sisal Limited, which diversified its portfolio to include tea grown in Nandi Hills. This prompted Kakuzi, which was then majority-owned by Eastern Produce, to acquire Siret Tea Estate in 1948.
Over the years, Kakuzi has grown to become one of the leading agricultural companies in Kenya, with a focus on producing high-quality products that meet the needs of its customers. The company has also been at the forefront of trailblazing on avocado exports from Kenya, with a commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.
Also Read: Avocado Farming In Kenya
Kakuzi’s Avocado Production
Kakuzi is the largest producer of Hass avocados in Kenya, with full control over the entire value chain, from seedling to fork. The company’s location provides a temperate climate that is perfectly suited to the production of avocados. As part of its long-term production plan, Kakuzi has expanded its orchards by 94% since 2014, with a further 60 hectares added in 2022.
The company produces, packs, and exports a variety of green and black skin cultivars, ensuring complete traceability and a high-quality product. Avocado production at Kakuzi is done sustainably, with the company using responsible agricultural practices to protect the environment and support the local community.
Kakuzi’s avocado packhouse is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, ensuring that the fruit is sorted and packed to the highest standards. The company’s commitment to quality has earned it a reputation as a reliable supplier of premium avocados to the international market.
The demand for avocados has been on the rise globally, and Kakuzi has been capitalizing on this trend. In 2022, the company’s avocado production contributed significantly to its total sales revenue of $33 million, up from $24.5 million the previous year. The company’s profit for the financial year ended December 2022 was $6.4 million, a 62% increase compared to the previous year.
With a focus on sustainable production, quality, and innovation, Kakuzi is well-positioned to continue leading the way in avocado production and export in Kenya.
Exporting Avocados from Kenya
Kakuzi Plc is the largest exporter of avocados from Kenya. The company has been exporting avocados to various countries around the world, including China, Europe, and the Middle East. The demand for avocados has been on the rise in recent years, and Kenya has become one of the major suppliers of avocados to the global market.
Kakuzi Plc has been exporting avocados since the 1980s. The company has established strong relationships with its customers and has built a reputation for providing high-quality avocados. The company has also invested in modern technology and equipment to ensure that its avocados are of the highest quality.
Exporting avocados from Kenya requires compliance with various regulations and standards. Kakuzi Plc has been certified by various certification bodies, including GlobalG.A.P, Fairtrade, and Rainforest Alliance. These certifications ensure that the company’s avocados are grown and harvested in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way.
Kakuzi Plc exports both Hass and Fuerte avocados. Hass avocados are the most popular variety of avocados in the world, and they account for the majority of Kakuzi’s avocado exports. Fuerte avocados are less popular than Hass avocados, but they are still in demand in some markets.
Exporting avocados from Kenya has been a significant source of income for the country. The avocado industry has created job opportunities for thousands of people, from farmers to exporters. The industry has also contributed to the development of infrastructure, such as roads and ports, which are essential for exporting avocados.
Kakuzi’s Role in the Kenyan Avocado Industry
Kakuzi is the largest avocado exporter in Kenya and has played a significant role in the growth and development of the Kenyan avocado industry. The company has been instrumental in the production, packing, and export of high-quality avocados to the global market, earning the country a reputation as a reliable supplier of avocado products.
Kakuzi has full control over the entire value chain, ensuring complete traceability and quality of its products. The company grows a variety of green and black skin cultivars, with the Hass variety being the most popular. The location of the company provides a temperate climate which is perfectly suited to the production of avocado.
Kakuzi has also been recognized for its efforts in ensuring a perfect avocado seedling from the onset of the planting to germination, growth, and transplanting. The company has won several awards, including four awards at the Kenya Avocado Industry Excellence Awards in 2021, for its efforts in ensuring quality avocado is grown and exported to the outside market.
The demand for avocados has been on the rise globally, and Kakuzi has been at the forefront of meeting this demand. In 2022, the company became the first commercial exporter of African avocados to China, with a shipment of 180 tons of fruit loaded in nine containers of quality export-grade avocados. The development of this new market is critical to the company and Kenya as a whole, as it opens up a new revenue stream for the country.
Kakuzi’s commitment to sustainability and core values is evident in its operations, which are closely integrated with the local communities and the environment. The company’s vision is to be a global leader in the production and supply of quality agricultural products, and it is well on its way to achieving this goal.
Challenges Faced by Kakuzi
Kakuzi, being a leading avocado exporter in Kenya, has not been immune to challenges. Some of the challenges faced by the company include:
- Lower Production: Kakuzi Plc recently issued a procedural profit warning notice with anticipated lower full-year earnings due to lower production and export of avocado fruits. This lower production may be due to a variety of factors such as weather conditions, disease, or pests.
- Competition: While Kakuzi is a major player in the avocado export market, it faces competition from other countries that also export avocados. Chile exports 55% and South Africa exports 60% of their total production, while Kenya only exports 10%. This means that Kenyan avocado farmers and exporters must work hard to compete with other countries in the market.
- Logistics: Exporting avocados from Kenya to other countries can be challenging due to logistics. The fruit is highly perishable, and transportation must be carefully managed to ensure that the avocados arrive at their destination in good condition. This can be a logistical challenge, especially when exporting to countries that are far away.
- Regulations: Exporting avocados from Kenya to other countries requires compliance with various regulations. These regulations can be complex and time-consuming to navigate, which can be a challenge for smaller avocado farmers and exporters who may not have the resources to devote to compliance.
- Market Fluctuations: The avocado market can be unpredictable, and prices can fluctuate depending on factors such as supply and demand, weather conditions, and global economic conditions. These fluctuations can make it challenging for avocado farmers and exporters to plan and manage their operations.
Despite these challenges, Kakuzi remains a major player in the avocado export market in Kenya. The company is continually innovating and seeking new markets, and it has a strong reputation for quality and reliability.
Future Plans of Kakuzi
Kakuzi PLC, the leading avocado exporter in Kenya, has ambitious plans for the future. The company has been expanding its avocado orchards, with an additional 60 hectares added in 2021, bringing the total to 927 hectares. This expansion is aimed at doubling avocado exports to China, following an engagement with Dalian Yidu Group, a major Chinese importer of fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition to expanding its avocado production, Kakuzi is also focusing on diversification projects for its macadamia, blueberry, livestock, and commercial forestry business lines. These projects are aimed at improving the company’s overall performance and profitability.
Kakuzi is committed to supporting smallholder farmers in Kenya. As part of a shared prosperity business plan, the company is strengthening its avocado smallholder base. This will involve providing training, technical support, and access to financing to help small-scale farmers improve their yields and income.
The company is also exploring new markets for its products. In 2022, Kakuzi became the first local entity to secure approval from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to process and prepare export-grade fresh avocados for the Chinese market. This is a significant achievement that will open up new opportunities for the company.
Overall, Kakuzi’s future plans are focused on sustainable growth and development. The company is committed to improving its operations, expanding its market reach, and supporting smallholder farmers in Kenya. With its strong track record and commitment to excellence, Kakuzi is well-positioned to continue leading the way in the Kenyan avocado industry.
Sources: Kamonde, Eunice W. Export Marketing Strategies and Performance, Kakuzi PLC. Diss. University of Nairobi, 2021. Link: http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/handle/11295/157136
Wasilwa, Lusike A., et al. “Status of avocado production in Kenya.” Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya (2004). Link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lusike-Wasilwa/publication/267683079_STATUS_OF_AVOCADO_PRODUCTION_IN_KENYA/links/58f5ae67a6fdcc11e56a0129/STATUS-OF-AVOCADO-PRODUCTION-IN-KENYA.pdf