Avocado Farming, the Green Gold

Avocado is categorized as a super food. It is also known as the green gold and is grown both in small scale and large scale. The fruit is in high demand both locally and internationally. This makes it the most exported fruit after mango. Varieties locally grown include Hass, Linda and Fuerte.

Farming avocado

It takes 2yrs to start fruiting and does well in cool areas like Kisii, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kangundo, Embu, Meru, Mua Hills etc. and is equally resistant to drought. However it has week branches and shallow roots hence the need to avoid windy areas and take caution while watering.

Avocado grows from either seed or seedling with grafted seedlings best for export. Proper spacing
should be 3m to 5m within line, 5m to 7m between lines. The holes should be at least 2ft and can be 1m deep. An acre of the fruit can hold 140 to 150 trees and I tree can yield 600 to 800 fruits per season. Above all plant maintenance must include weeding, thinning, proper fertilizer application and mulching as pest and disease control.

Value addition

This fruit is rich in Vitamin C, E, K and B6, minerals, Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, healthy fats, nutrients etc. Oil, Briquettes (from avocado waste products), paste, soap can be produced as value addition.

Demand for avocado

Meanwhile as the demand for avocado grows locally and internationally and farmers strive to meet the demand, lack of laws to protect farmers from exploitation threatens to slow down production in the avocado sector. Stakeholders in the sector in Murang’a County are up in arms

for the proposed County Avocado Bill to be passed by the County Assembly.

Summarily they are decrying for a law that will encourage best practices along the value chain This includes quality assurance, transportation, storage, processing and marketing of the fruit.
Stolen fruits have found their way into the market due to lack of traceability system. Ultimately the enactment of the law will weed out brokers in the avocado value chain and put a stop to the theft of the fruit. If the traceability system is put in place, it will be able to track the history of the produce, from the farm/farmer to the consumer.

Challenges facing avocado farmers

Furthermore, the Bill proposes that all avocado farmers to register with an approved cooperative.
Having the database is one of the measures to be put in place to solve some of the challenges faced by the avocado in Murang’a County. The farmers will also benefit from the establishment of an Avocado Promotion Unit if the Bill is passed. The Unit will be tasked with organizing extension and sensitization programs. In conclusion, the avocado farmers are bound to benefit with the streamlining of the avocado sector if the proposed Bill passes in passed to law.

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