Dar es Salaam — South Africa has granted market access to avocado produced in Tanzania, ending 10 years of a standoff over the matter.
Tanzanian growers produce their avocado during the South African off-season – when prices in the local market are extremely high.
During this period the local trade normally imports fruit to supplement the local supply
In a letter dated November 16, 2021, the acting director of the South African Plant Health Jan Hendrik Venter said the decision has been reached after a successful virtual bilateral engagement.
“On November 9, 2021, the National Plant Protection Organization of Tanzania (NPPO) provided a pre-recorded video presentation to the National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa (NPPOZA) to verify and pre-test pest risk management practices in order to allow authorisation of avocados from Tanzania to South Africa,” reads the statement.
The letter which has been seen by The Citizen futher reads: The NPPOZA wishes to inform the NPPO of Tanzania that following the presentation of a pre-recorded video inspection and subsequent deliberation during the virtual verification process, the market access for importation of avocado fresh fruit from Tanzania to South Africa has been granted.
Furthermore, the letter states that the market access has been granted subject to the NPPO of Tanzania providing a list/database of the registered facilities as per paragraph 2.3 of the phytosanitary import requirements.
The market access of Tanzania avocados remained restricted despite application submitted to the NPPOZA in 2011 over phytosanitary certifications.
In February 3.514 tonnes of avocados that was transported to South Africa by Tanzania’s Kuza Africa Company was confiscated at the Beit Bridge Border post.
The fruit was seized and destroyed by officials from South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), reportedly because no phytosanitary documents accompanied the consignment.
The chairman of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA) Clive Garrett, said the protocol for the importation of Tanzanian avocados into South Africa had not yet been finalised.
“It is absolutely important that we protect our local industry and we have consistently supported the development and implementation of these protocols between South Africa and Tanzania,” he outlined.
The incident is receiving much attention because the Tanzanian exporter claimed, that the fruit was sourced from small farmers in Tanzania who are suffering because of the effect of Covid-19 on their industry.
According to the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), in 2018 Tanzania exported 7,551 tons of avocado with a total value of $8.5 million to Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The ITC also indicates that Tanzania’s avocado exports showed an impressive growth performance over the past years.
The ITC estimates that most of Tanzania’s opportunities to increase avocado exports lie in the EU where Avocado represents 1.5 per cent of agricultural exports. The most important market is the Netherlands, with an untapped potential of USD 1.8 million.
The second-largest market is France, but there the export potential is already fully realized. Other markets with large untapped export potential include Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and China, while the potential to export avocado to Africa is very small.
In August 2021, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has announced that the government is finalizing negotiations with South Africa to export avocados to the latter.
And Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, said that the government was working to open other avocado markets including China and India.
To seize the opportunity represented by the increasing international demand for avocados, Tanzania established an avocado cluster in the northern zone regions in May 2021.