In response to allegations of misbehaviour and breaking membership regulations, the Avocado Association of Kenya (ASOK) was deregistered by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).

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In an email dated Monday, January 15, 2024, the Horticultural Crops Directorate of the AFA charged the Association with disseminating false material online and communicating incorrectly on the avocado export industry.

ASOK, led by CEO Ernest Muthomi, has allegedly been targeting fruit exporters, a move that the State agency claims puts multibillion-dollar agreements with avocado purchasers, particularly in the Middle East, at risk.

Additionally, AFA claimed that despite the Authority's closure of the avocado harvesting season and seaborne exports in November of last year, ASOK had been promoting the export of immature avocados to both regional and worldwide markets.

It is also claimed that ASOK informed importers that Kenyan avocados in their marketplaces were illegal and were to be taken out of retailers.

Thus, ASOK is held accountable by the Authority for disseminating material that might harm the exporting industries' image and for not using the appropriate channels of communication.

"The behaviour of ASOK and its leadership is detrimental to the expansion and advancement of the horticultural sector as a whole and damages Kenya's commercial relations with foreign nations, particularly concerning the export of horticultural goods," Acting Director Christine Chesaro of the AFA Horticultural Crops Directorate said.

As the leading avocado exporter in Africa and the sixth globally, Kenya generates about Ksh.19 billion in foreign exchange revenue each year from its exports.

The Authority now formally deregisters ASOK and ceases to recognise it as an Industry Association with effect from January 15, 2024, in accordance with the Crops (Horticultural Crops) Regulations 2020, para. 13, sub-sections (1, 2), and (3), Ms. Chesaro said.

In order to protect the horticultural sector's and the nation's reputations, she subsequently cancelled all economic dealings with ASOK. 

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