Supporting Tanzania Avocado Producers to Meet South Africa’s Export Standards

For over 10 years, Tanzania has tried to gain access to the avocado market in South Africa. The country is well-positioned to export produce to South Africa, especially during the months of December to February. During this period, there is a significant drop in the availability of the locally grown Hass and Fuerte varieties. However, the problem of fruit flies, more specifically, the menacing Bactrocera dorsalis, and the more recent challenges with the false codling moth created a barrier to this opportunity.

Fast forward to 2021, Tanzania now has avocado market access to South Africa. By leveraging on the technical and financial support from the STOSAR Project, FAO supported the country through its National Plant Protection Organization, the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority, helping them to meet international standards for production and export through conducting surveillance by the use of appropriate pest traps and digital tools to monitor the pests, carrying out pest risk analysis, and developing a pest list. Additionally, False codling moth mating disruption operations were carried out in avocado orchards owned by establishments identified as potential exporters to South Africa. An audit of packhouses was also performed to ensure a complete systems approach to pest management is adhered to by exporters.

All approved orchards and packhouses were registered and provided with a traceability code. Due to movement restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, South African authorities could not travel to Tanzania to conduct an in-person audit. A virtual audit was done through a portal with similar features to YouTube. 

After a thorough audit, South African authorities were satisfied with the food safety (Codex) and phytosanitary measures (ISPMs) in place. They notably praised the surveillance system in place and the deployment of digital technology to help facilitate phytosanitary issues. 

On the 16th of November 2021, Mr Jan Hendrick Venter, the Director for Plant Health at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in South Africa issued an official letter granting Tanzania access to their avocado market. 

FAO applauds the concerted effort by all partners that have led to this remarkable achievement. It remains committed to supporting the NPPO to maintain its export status.