Agri-business firm Kakuzi Plc has been nominated for five awards in the forthcoming Kenya Avocado Excellence Awards (KAEA) set for this Friday.
The KAEA awards, now in their 2nd edition, are a strategic initiative of the Avocado Society Of Kenya designed to celebrate stakeholders in the sector for the advancement of excellent service delivery and overall industry development.
This year, Kakuzi Plc, which successfully picked Three awards in the inaugural KAEA ceremony in 2019, has been nominated in five of the six award categories, including the Avocado Person Of The Year 2020/21, which features the firm’s Managing Director, Mr Chris Flowers. Other nominees in the Individual subcategory are Murang’a County Governor Mr Mwangi wa Iria, Avoil Industries CEO Mr Sunil Savla and the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) CEO Dr Wilfred Marube.
The firm has also been nominated in the Growers, Exporters and Crop Productivity Categories.
Speaking ahead of the KAEA Award ceremony, Kakuzi PLC’s Executive Head of Corporate Affairs Mr Simon Odhiambo said the firm is on course to enhance its Avocado production capacity with a number of recent investments valued at more than KShs 100million.
The firm, he said, has prepared new crop fields as part of the enhancement programme with specific upgrades on its packhouse and quality management standards to ensure enhanced adherence to global phytosanitary certifications.
“We are humbled to be nominated in the respective categories as we consider this to be a deserved tribute to our commitment to quality avocado production for local and export markets,” Odhiambo said. He added that “Kakuzi currently has a new immature avocado development area that is thriving, with production expected in a year or so. Land preparation for a new Avocado crop is also underway in a crop area previously under pineapple production.”
The firm, he disclosed, is also actively working on expanding the Kakuzi smallholder programme as part of its community empowerment and development and programme. With more than 3,000 members, the Smallholder programme reaches the immediate neighbouring community and, further afield providing free extension and related services to farmers. The programme ensures continued education for the community and farmers on the latest avocado production technologies and best management practices, including free fruit maturity testing. Access to this information provides support to assist in increasing farmers yields and, in turn, driving wealth.
Currently, Kakuzi mainly exports Hass and Pinkerton Avocado varieties. A significant percentage of the export-grade Hass and Pinkerton is exported to the European market. However, there are concerted efforts by the Kenyan Government to gain access to more local and global markets for the growing volumes of quality Kenyan fruit.
The KAEA awards acknowledge and recognize contributions to the avocado sector that change or alter businesses resulting in advancement forward in all areas of the industry and including but not limited to marketing, research and development, products and product innovation.
KAEA is now a national ritual in recognition of individuals and organizations. These super-achievers are feted during a Networking Gala Dinner to incentivize and encourage competitiveness and growth within the avocado industry.