AGRIBUSINESS: Why avocado is the green gold

Avocado seedlings ready for planting. PHOTO/Edmond Kipngeno, The Scholar Media Africa.

A section of farmers from Uasin Gishu County, Kenya, have started to embrace avocado farming.

One of them is James Agui who says avocado farming is lucrative.

He says farmers should invest in irrigation to counter instances of rainfall insufficiency.

According to Agui, agricultural advisers from the county are doing a commendable job in assisting farmers.

There are many avocado varieties including hass and fuerte.

Mr. Agui says he foresees Kenya being the largest producer of avocado in the near future.

“Avocado farming is a good enterprise. The farmer can reap big from it,” he says.

“We thank the County Government of Uasin Gishu for promoting crops such as Macadamia, avocado among others which will give farmers value for their money,” said Agui.

Erick Baliach is another farmer who ventured into avocado farming in the year 2007.

Three years later he received impressive profits after a good harvest.

However, at some point, the prices deteriorated, and they were forced to sell the fruits for as little as a shilling each.

In the year 2015, with other like-minded farmers, they formed Sirikwa group to sell their avocado produce to Kakuzi in the year 2017.

In the year 2018 they searched for exporters.

“Currently we are exporting our avocado produce outside the country,” said Baliach.

He notes that there is a huge demand for avocado at the the global market.

“The market price for avocado per kilo is nothing less than Ksh. 100 at the global market,” added Baliach.

Farmers were encouraged to remain resilient as they will never regret venturing into avocado business since the world market improves daily.

“The farm should be fenced because the plants should not be disrupted at all; avocado is green gold,” noted Baliach.

Peter Sugut is another avocado farmer who has diversified from maize farming since 2014.

“I am forever grateful to the County Government of Uasin Gishu for their timely and effective initiatives in the development of these crops,” said Sugut.

Macadamia, avocado, and coffee are among the promotional crops doing well in the North Rift region.

According to Sugut, the hass variety of avocado was going for Ksh 20 per kilogram in 2020.

“This year, I have sold the fuerte and hass varieties at Ksh 40 and Ksh. 90 per kilo respectively,” added Sugut.

Sugut said he will increase the number of avocado trees in his farm.

He said an acre of avocado can earn a farmer up Ksh. 800,000 in a year.

Governor Jackson Mandago praised the County Assembly for their commitment in approving budgetary allocations.

This saw at least Ksh 40 million allocated to the crops diversification program.

Speaking to The Scholar Media Africa, Mandago warned avocado farmers to avoid market exploitation by brokers.

“Going forward, I want to ask farmers to ensure that they move with speed to form cooperatives because it has many market benefits,” added Mandago.

The County Assembly’s Agricultural Committee chairman Mr. Joel Rugut noted that they have advocated for the increase of funds allocation promotional crops.

“In the 2020-2021 budget, at least Sh.40 million was allocated for the promotional crops in the county,” added Mr. Rugut.

According to County Excecutive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Agriculture Samuel Yego, 75,000 avocado seedlings worth Ksh21 million were recently distributed.

County deputy governor Daniel Chemno urged residents to venture into farming initiatives which have good returns.

According to Dr. Esther Kimani, CEO, Kenya Pest Control Product Board (PCPB), agriculture is the key to Kenya’s economy.

It contributes 26% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another other 27% of indirectly through linkages with other sectors.

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