Posted on 1 Comment

THE GREEN GOLD MINE.

The Hass Avocado

The Hass avocado is the most popular variety in the world, it originated in La Habra Heights in California in the 1920s and it was patented by Rudolph Hass in 1935, the trees are upright with high vigor which indicates that they will grow tall and require pruning.

The Hass avocado leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood. The fruits are oval and medium shaped, the flesh recovery stands at 70%. The fruit skin changes color from green to purplish-black when mature and black when ripe, mature fruits weigh between 180 to 350 g. The hass avocado’s maturity is mid-season to late season, it also has one of the longest harvesting seasons and an outstanding shelf-life and good shipping characteristics.

Optimal Ecological Requirement

AltitudeAltitude range between 1200-2500 meters above the sea
RainfallWell distributed rainfall range of not less than 1000mm
Growing TemperatureOptimum growing temperature range of 20℃ to 25℃
SoilDeep, well drained fertile sandy or alluvial loam soil with pH ranging from 5.5-6.5

PLANTING

Trees should be planted at the beginning of the seasonal rainfall and as soon as the rain has deeply penetrated the ground. Trees planted at this time of the year have a full growing period ahead to establish themselves before the next dry season.

Site selection and Ploughing

In selecting planting site, a well-drained site is given top priority since avocado is highly affected by water logging and phytophthora root rot disease. Ensure there are no clay layers within a depth of 2ft. Hollowing is avoided where water accumulates even for short period, soil should be ploughed sufficiently to eliminate debris and clods, plough to a fine tilth. Avoid field operations when it is wet to avoid soil compaction and hard pans which affect proper root development. Soil analysis should be done at least 6 months before planting, to allow time for required fertilizers be applied and soil be conditioned ready for planting.

Planting and bringing the tree to bearing

The following aspects need to be considered when planting a new orchard

  • Soil type
  • Climate
  • Availability of irrigation water
  • Management skills
  • Cultivar to be planted

Spacing of Hass avocado can vary from 5m by 5m to 9m by 5m. To facilitate movement of orchard equipment between the trees for spraying and harvesting, a rectangular system should be applied.

The tree rows should be planted as close as possible in an east-west direction for maximum sunlight on both sides of the trees. The tree drip area should be kept clean of any growing crop but should be mulched.

Planting procedure

Ensure that at the time of planting the soil is clean of weeds in the planting rows, the irrigation has been installed and is in a working condition and enough stakes are available for supporting the trees directly after planting.

Trees are kept upright and out of direct sunlight until they are physically planted. Planting holes can be dug with a hoe and spade and needs to be 2ft by 2ft by 2ft.

Bag is carefully cut open along one side without disturbing the root system. Loose soil is piled into planting hole so that the soil level of the avocado tree will be 1/3 above the ground. The tree is then kept upright and the hole is filled with soil and firmly pressed down, fill to the soil level of the planting bag.

Mulching is done around the tree to prevent drying out of the soil and keep the root system cool and active.

Supporting should be done using 1.8 to 2.0m treated poles/bamboo sticks, planted +/- 50mm away from the main stem of the tree. Fastening the trees against the pole should not be too tightly done rather loosely. Care should be taken to ensure the stake is not placed within the root zone.

IRRIGATION

Avocados have large soft leaved and evaporate a lot of water in warm weather, so they need regular watering in case of insufficient rainfall especially during flowering and fruit setting. The amount of water required for an avocado plant in a week is about 70 Litres on average.

When to irrigate

When signs of stress from lack of water begin to show, it’s the most efficient way to water. The following signs are indication of water stress;

  • Footprints or tire tracks that remain in the grass long after being made.
  • Many leaf blades folded in half.
  • If a soil sample sought from a profile 1-2 ft. deep is not pliable and shreds into soil droplets upon dropping to the ground.
  • Premature fruit drop and /or flaccid fruits on trees.

Rate of evaporation and the soil moisture content can also be used to know when irrigation should be done. In this case, moisture indicators known as irrometers are used to measure the soil moisture content. They should be placed at a distance of 30cm (12 inches) and 60cm (24 inches) from the top soil, since that is the root zone for an avocado plant.

Efficiency of water application

  • Efficient watering does not saturate the soil and does not allow water to run off.
  • Extremes in watering frequency and amount should be avoided since they lead to water runs off and wastage.
  • Light frequency on the other hand, is inefficient and encourages shallow/restricted root systems.
  • 2-3 irrigation rounds per week in the peak irrigation periods is typically ideal. In case of rainfall, irrigation should be suspended depending on rainfall amounts.

Timing of irrigation

The best time to irrigate is in the early morning hours and/or late evening to avoid water wastage through evaporation if done during the day.

Avocados require 8000-9000m3 per Ha for the whole year including rain water supply. The moisture requirement varies in amount depending on the prevailing physiological stage. These stages include; flowering, fruit set, fruit drop, fruit sizing and fruit quality.

You got to love this,

This coming rainy season, OxfarmAg Limited is rolling out a hass avocado package plan amounting to Kshs.40,500 where we targeting 99 Farmers for 99 Acres with 99 FREE Beehives.

What is in the package? (40,500/- per Acre)

Our package comes with;

  • 150 certified Hass avocado seedlings
  • Agronomist support.
  • Soil treatment using the organic manure for the 150 seedlings
  • Labor (digging holes and planting)
  • Free consultation
  • Free Beehive per acre
  • Market connection

Additional costs

  • Transport (20/- per Km to & from any of our nearest branch)
  • Agronomist farm pre-visit expense (allowance + transport)
  • Soil Test (2,800 per sample)

Kenya is ranked 8th producer of Hass avocado globally with the production and ability to export 30 tonnes to Canada, Europe, UAE and China. With the rising demand Kenyan farmers are looking forward to expand their export market to South Korea, which is highly ranked in regards to the consumption of the fruit. In the export market each fruit retails between Kshs.10-20 but still not possible to satisfy the incoming demand.

Posted on 5 Comments

DID YOU KNOW THAT FRUIT FARMING HAS EVOLVED? FIND OUT HOW BELOW….

Over the years, we have always had the perception that farming is something for the less educated as there are few options for them to explore, but is that true? The answer is no… we have always thought that the white collar jobs are the sure bet and for the educated, and there is some truth in this, if you aren’t a professional in an area it would be really difficult to maneuver around it and thrive in that profession, but here is the beauty of farming, you don’t have to have a formal training to practice farming, you just need to get a professional when you want to start farming, this professional will take you through what you need to do so as to get your desired results and run on with it.

What do you need to be a good farmer? I would say an investors’ mindset, in most we always associate investment with assets but we fail to look at farming as an investment plan. Fruit farming to be precise is a very lucrative investment because, when you plant fruit tree seedlings you only need to water them at the beginning and once they stand on their own they hardly require you to water them for months, and once the trees mature they will give you fruits without you going to work on the farm.

So, once we understand that fruit farming isn’t tiring as we would expect, there comes in a different approach, the modern day farmer is at an advantaged point because not only are the fruits consumed locally, they are also consumed internationally and with the modern day technology a farmer can get themselves buyers or a buyer outside the country at a click of a button.  

Fruit farming is a win to all stakeholders, for the farmer, (s)he gets the fruits and sells them, for the environment; the fruit trees provide oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife such as birds of the skies. So on top of having an income generating investment, fruit farming will also see you consume fruits in the process of farming and that saves on your expenses and in that process you will consume some of the fruits from your farm, so nutrition wise you also benefit.

So what do you need to start fruit farming?

  1. Availability of land,

The bigger the piece of land the bigger the investment so does the profit, however, that shouldn’t discourage you from fruit farming if you don’t own a piece of land or if you own a small piece of land. You can start with what you have or find an alternative which is leasing a bigger piece of land for probably 10 to 20 years.

  • Availability of water,

Every fruit seedling requires water when it is tender but the beauty is you don’t necessarily need to have a borehole, dam or a river in you piece of land, you can make use of the modern day drip system which is made of a plastic bottle and an adjustable drip tap, that way once you fill the bottle with water you regulate the flow of water so one bottle will last for 3 days, and therefore you are typically required to be in the farm twice in a week, how efficient is that?

  • Identify the soil type

Soil identification is very crucial when it comes to fruit farming; because they soil type helps you know what fruits can grow well in your farm and what do you need added in your farm so as to have a great harvest? Sometimes we tend to think that we should put a lot of manure in our farm so as to get a very good harvest, what we forget is that adding too much manure can lead to nitrate leaching, nutrient runoff, excessive vegetative growth and, for some manures, salt damage.

  • Quality certified seedlings

It is human nature to want a product at a cheaper price; after all you are reducing your expenditure right? Unfortunately this analogy doesn’t apply everywhere, when you go for low quality fruit seedlings, you don’t get the yield you are looking for, you will get a low yield and sometimes you will not even get a yield as your seedlings will not mature. So the higher the quality the better the yield and the more you get the best and much from it.

  • Organic inputs such as manure

Good planting is very key in fruit farming, organic inputs are very essential in fruit farming, they are key determinants of the type of yield you get and they even determine whether your fruit tree will be strong or weak.

  • The right partners i.e. agronomic advice

Having the right partner is crucial, they walk with you from preparing to farm, planting and caring for the fruit tree seedlings until they mature into being fruits and finally the right partners helps you secure a market for your products. Therefore making your fruit farming easy and enjoyable. Oxfarm Organic Limited is here for you, we go an extra mile to see you happy and satisfied.