Following the increase in demand for avocado in the local and international market, farmers have been generating a lot of income. Farmers in different parts of the country are tuning in to avocado farming to reap something from the profitable industry. In the export market, avocados are likely to be the game-changer crop, especially Hass avocados which are highly nutritious. In the recent past, Europe has been the most targeted market for Kenyan Avocados. China giving a nod to the Kenyan avocados in April was a major development that would boost the avocado market. The IX World Avocado trade show was well attended with many different stands and interesting speakers. According to recent reports, it is evident that big markets in Europe and China are showing more interest in the avocados. For instance, avocado exports to China and Europe have increased by more than 1000 times and the projection is still growing. The consumption of hass avocados has risen by 150% in Europe in one decade, which shows that there is a development in the avocado farming industry.
Yield Depends on Quality of Seedlings
However, most farmers tend to copy what their neighbors are doing and end up getting disappointed when the fruits are mature and ready for sale. The farmers are not aware that the yield of the avocado trees depends on the quality of the seedlings, the variety, and proper farming methods. Despite the Chinese and European market being huge, it might not benefit all the farmers if they are not properly trained. This means that it will only benefit a small number of people. Although the industry is profitable, it still suffers several challenges which might affect the sales of Kenyan hass avocados in the international market.
The majority of avocado growers are small scale farmers with different methods of production and therefore the quality of the Kenyan avocados varies. There is also a lack of confidence in the international markets due to the claims that the packaging of Kenyan avocados is not strong enough. Initially, the international market for Kenyan avocados was dominated by French importers who exploited the Kenyan production to meet the rising demand in the European market and paying 20-30% lower than the other importers. The European Union has well-documented standards for avocados that China has also embraced even after giving Kenyan avocados a nod. For instance, the EU and China outline that the fruits should be clean and free from debris. Furthermore, they should be free from pests and diseases, the stalk should be intact and mature to enable them to ripen uniformly at room temperature. Also, they must undergo inspection and certification from KEPHIS. The greatest challenge that might face Kenyan avocados is the ability to adhere to international standards. To prevent loses, farmers should ensure that they plant high quality and certified seedlings. They should employ professional farming standards to prevent their avocado trees from being affected by pests such as thrips, and moth insects. They are also susceptible to fungal diseases such as anthracnose, root rot, Cercospora, and scab. Anthracnose, Cercospora and Scab can be controlled using copper-based fungicides. Root rot can be prevented by getting high quality, grafted, and treated seedlings.
Demand Continues to Grow
The consumption of avocados locally and international continues to grow every year. Most hotels have avocados in their menus which means that the demand is quite high. To produce quality fruits, it is the high time farmers employ good agricultural practices to ensure that their fruits make a kill both in the local and international markets. Farmers should get the necessary training to produce something that meets international standards. Quality seedlings that are resistant to diseases can be acquired at oxfarm.co.ke. These seedlings also can withstand harsh weather conditions.