Mofarm takes avocado exports to another level

Mofarm takes avocado exports to another level

By Bernard Muhia

Fresh fruit exports have been on the rise especially for avocados. One of the companies contributing to this upward trend is Mofarm Fresh Fruit Exporters Limited based at Utawala, in Nairobi. The company exports avocados, mangoes, pineapples, mangetout snow peas, baby corn, fine beans, cashew nuts, thorn melons and coconuts. Founded in 2007, the company has grown a lot and was this year’s 2018/2019 winner of the best performing medium scale exporter award from the Avocado Society of Kenya. The company which prides itself in setting standards currently exports to the European Markets, Middle East, Egypt among other countries. The Company has a fresh fruit grading line in Utawala that has the capacity to process 4 tonnes of fresh produce per hour. To meet the ever growing demand for fresh fruits, they are investing in a grading line along the Eastern bypass that has the capacity to process 14 tonnes of fresh produce per hour.

The plant has an advanced grading and packing line from Israel. The Eshet Eilon machine has several sections including washing/dipping bay where fruits are cleaned to remove dust accumulated during transportation from the farms. Once cleaned, the fruits are taken up by conveyor belt rollers that take them to the dryer. The dryer has industrial grade fans that dry the fruits as they are rolled further along to the grading section. Here, the machine has electronic calibrations to determine the sizes. The fruits are weighed and sorted according to their sizes. The sorted fruits are dispensed to different sections of the packing tray as demarcated for individual sizes. The manual grading and packing is done by the pack house graders into cartons. A further quality check is carried out before palletizing and strapping. Special attention is paid when packing organic fruits to avoid cross-contamination of the fruits. When the packing is complete, the cartons are stacked together into a skid/pallet. A skid/ pallet comprises of 288 cartons for the 4 kg cartons and 120 cartons for the 10kg cartons. Mofarm Fresh Exporters Limited has a pre-cooling system which has a capacity of 40 skids/ pallets. The fruits are pre-cooled at a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 10 hours. These fruits are then stuffed into a 40 foot container/ reefer that has a controlled atmosphere system and a genset for cooling during transportation to the port. A 40 ft refeer container holds 5760 cartons or 20 skids for 4kgs cartons and 2400 cartons or 20 skids for the 10kgs cartons. The plant is currently exporting ten 40 ft refeer container containers on weekly basis of avocados during peak season.

According to Boniface Mutungi, the General Operations Manager of Mofarm, the company sources its produce from 8 farmer groups in Murang’a County. These groups have a membership of over 500 members per group growing organic and conventional avocados for both varieties. They also source from registered Marketing Agents who are registered by Agriculture Food and Authority (AFA) who meets the set up compliance by the Regulatory Body. The company enlists the HCDA services in the inspection, licensing, market linkage an taskforce compliance for all exporters of fresh horticultural produce in Kenya. The company has recently imported a Machine called Avocado Quality Meter from EU Market. The machine measures dry matter quantity and oil content in avocado to see if it is ready for harvesting. A Hass avocado that is ready for picking should have a dry matter measurement of 23% and an oil content of 11%. For Fuerte avocado variety, the dry matter should be at between 18-22% dry matter and the oil content at 8-10%. All these checks have made Mofarm one of the leading organic certified exporter in the country. The company has also enlisted the services of Control Union who conducts external Audits in Organic, Global GAP, GRASP,BRC, SMETA to mention but a few. The company also engages SGS Kenya Limited which is an ISO 17025 accredited body to conduct external checks for MRLs Analysis which are mandatory requirements in EU Market particularly those companies who are organic certified to avoid sanctions or interceptions. To ensure that there is minimum produce rejection, the company undertakes free training sessions to farmers on integrated pest management. This includes tactics like the use of biological control measures. Finally, Mofarm Fresh Fruits Exporters Limited offers capacity building to farmers ie. Bonuses, trainings, provisions of office equipment


Share This


Wordpress (0)
Disqus ( )
× Whatsapp us