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Kenya's avocado sub-sector shows promising future

With an estimated annual production of 115,000mt, Kenya’s avocado sub-sector has experienced further growth as investments increase in the counties and new export markets open up

Foreign investors setting up avocado factories in the country have also improved prospects among local farmers.

Each year, more than 1,000 avocado containers are shipped to Europe and the Middle East. New markets in Asia- specifically Russia and China are opening up opportunities for farmers and exporters, according to key industry players.

This has boosted the country’s profile as a top avocado producer among their other producing nations of Chile, Peru and South Africa.

In recent years, the World Economic Forum has recognised Kenya’s avocado success story.

Kenya has about 7,500ha under the crop with more than 70 per cent of total avocado production coming from smallholder farmers.

Increased investment by the county governments has come as a boon to many farmers who previously had to suffer low prices from ravenous brokers-fleecing farmers of their incomes.

Contract farming has also encouraged farmers to improve their farmings and replace old less productive trees with modern varieties.

“Profits were low making us diversify to other crops to better our incomes,” observed Margaret Kamau, an avocado farmer from Kandara, Murang’a County in Central Kenya.

With 80 avocado trees on her farm, overlooking the undulating Aberdare Ranges, Kamau produces at least 1,000 fruits per season- making her one of the most successful farmers in the region.

Mwangi Mumero