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Frequently Asked questions about Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass Avocado

Hass Avocado farming in Kenya is a topic that we all know it’s not going to end soon. Farmers and interested farmers have been asking us questions about hass avocado farming and the way to go about it. Well we are your eyes and ears, we will always give you information that will guide you in making those decisions that are difficult to make when it comes to farming. We are your partner when it comes to fruit farming and more specifically hass avocado farming. Here are some of your questions that we have tried to answer;

1.    Where do I get Hass Avocado Seedlings?

This is a question that is so common in Kenya. Over the past years, different companies as well as individuals have invested heavily in the business of selling seedlings. The main reason is because hass avocado fruit demand is rising day by day, hence the demand for seedlings. However, how can a farmer know whether the seedling is of hass variety and not fuerte or any other variety? Well I will tell you frankly that it is not simple, that’s why I would encourage farmers not to buy seedlings by the road side but rather consult and buy from certified groups. If you want genuine Hass Avocado seedlings buy here.

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2.    Where do I get Market for my Hass Avocado Fruits?

I will tell you in surety that, hass avocado market is overwhelming. If you interact with exporters such as Kakuzi you will learn that Kenyan hass avocado is loved and we can never satisfy the market even if we all planted avocado. Avocado is a fruit (healthy indeed) and as you might have learnt, due to many lifestyle diseases, people are urged to eat healthy. Our bodies requires fats but cholesterol free. Avocado fruit contain both vitamins and fats that are essential and healthy and are cholesterol free.

It is for the above reasons that you should not worry about market. Market will always be there, so get out there and plant an avocado today.

3.    Who are the main buyers of hass from farmers?

In this field, we have different players who buy directly from farmers. There are companies that buy avocado to process beauty products as well as oil. Others export the fruits just the way it is harvested from the farm. Therefore, there are as many buyers and exporters but just to mention a few, the biggest buyers are Kakuzi, Selina Wamucii, Olivado, Sasini, Mt Kenya Fresh Avocados e.t.c. What matters is quantity and quality, how many tonnes of hass can they get from you? How well have you taken care of them?

4.    What Do Exporters Expect From Hass Avocado Farmers?

Farmers must get it right when it comes to export. If you are planning on going commercial about hass avocado, you must get the right variety of seedlings and the requires fruit sizes. Export market requires quality produce. Export market demands for fruits of certain shapes and sizes. Buyers at the export market prefer size 12 fruits with dry matter content of 25%. In additional farmers should wait for the right time to pick the fruits and should never pick them before they are mature.

5.    Is My Area Suitable for Hass Avocado Farming?

Kenya is one of the few countries that enjoys equatorial climate. Most counties in Kenya receive a minimum of two rainy season. Avocados are highly adapted to different rainfall conditions; however, the rain should be an average of 1,000–1,600mm per annum and well-distributed throughout the year. Counties in central Kenya, Eastern, Central rift valley, Lower Nyanza and all western Kenya counties have the best climatic conditions for hass-Avocado cultivation. In Eastern Kenya, avocados do well in certain pockets such as Kang’undo, Mua Hills, Kathiani (Iveti hills), parts of Mbooni, all in Machakos County, and the high potential areas of the larger Embu and Meru counties. Other areas include; Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Bungoma, Transzoia, Nakuru, Uasingishu, Narok Bomet and some parts of Laikipia.

6.    Can I inter-crop Hass Avocados with other Crops?

As inter-cropping provides extra income, farmers can choose to have any kind of vegetable or pulse crops in the inter space. These crops may fix the nitrogen and suppress the weeds and increase the soil fertility. Only precaution should be taken care to grow the crops little far from an avocado plant. Therefore, Avocado orchards may be inter-cropped with other crops such as beans, peas, kale, or cabbage during the first 3-5 years to get economic returns from the land before the trees start bearing or produce economic returns.

Different Types Of Poultry Farming And Their Products

7.    How do I control pests and diseases in my avocado farm?

Biological pest control is by far the better option for avocado pests, as the incorrect use of agrochemicals on avocado trees could see minor pests develop into major economic risks. It is good to note that avocado orchards enjoy natural enemies (predators and parasites) that are able to maintain a biological balance. Cultural control is also effective depending on the level of infestation. When both the cultural and the biological control system are not working, selective use of chemical insecticides to control pests and diseases is necessary. This approach is referred to as IPM.

When you see diseases on the tree the damage is done. Early detection is a great plus. Anthracnose & collectrotrichum-On hass the symptoms will be seen as a bronzing, similar to mite damage on other crops, but has a small lesion and is described as “pepper spot”. These diseases are most likely to occur during the wet conditions. When the fruit is small, i.e. smaller than pegion egg size, it is not susceptible. Fruits bigger than this size is susceptible to infection at any time under favorable climatic conditions for the fungus.

8.    Should I Plant Two Different Varieties Of Avocados E.G Hass And Fuerte?

The type of avocado cultivars planted in an orchard will contribute to the expected yield. There are two types of avocado that flower at different times of the year (type A and type B). Mix both types in an orchard so that type A pollinates type B and vice visa. Hence cross pollination leads to higher yields than self-pollination. The presence of bee hives within the orchard is recommended as bees are the main pollinators of avocado. One should avoid applying chemicals that are harmful to bees.

9.    How Can I Avoid Flowers Abortion From My Hass Avocado Tree?

Avocado trees naturally experience a fairly large degree of fruit drop and there’s nothing you can or should do about this. Often, less than 1 percent of the avocado tree’s flowers will end up growing into mature fruit. Excellent cultural care practices during the flowering and fruiting stages helps to maintain an acceptable level of fruit drop.

 

 

 

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Hass Avocado Farming In Kenya From seedling to Export

hass avocado fruit farming in Kenya

Hass avocado farming in Kenya offers a good opportunity for youth and farmers to venture into. The market, both local and export is growing day by day but its limited by the production capacity.

Demand projections for the consumption of Kenyan grown Hass avocado fruits locally and internationally is increasing due to its inherent characteristics and adherence to Organic production. This agri-enterprise is ideal for Kenyan farmers and buyers finds them at their growing regions. The cost of production is low as it requires less labour,it is a perennial crop, resistant to diseases and pest which gives Kenyan farmers comparative advantage and well placed for organically grown Hass avocado.

Most growers of avocado are found in former central region, Kisii, and parts of western. However, north rift regions are becoming a force in the latest trends, bearing in mind they possess large tracks of land. In the recent developments, Kenya has witnessed increase in the number of countries interested in Kenyan fruits, some of these countries include, Russia, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and many more. Leading exporters include Kakuzi Ltd, Selina Wamucii, Mt. Kenya Avacado Farms.

National government through agencies such as KEPHIS, HCDA and the like have been on the fore front in improving hass avocado farming in Kenya. Local governments on the other hand have also played a great role in enhancing hass avocado farming in Kenya, for example, Mwangi Wa Iria, Muranga County governor has been providing farmers with hass avocado seedlings and marketing their produce to various exporters ensuring they get value for their produce.

Today in Kenya more and more farmers are compelled to start growing improved avocado trees, which will triple the countries production rates for exportation. The big season for avocado has begun with an expected high rise in volumes of exported avocados.

Ecological Requirements for Hass Avocado Farming In Kenya

Hass avocado farming in Kenya does well in higher altitudes of between 1000m to 2000m. Howevor, the fruit is somehow bigger in cooler areas as compared to warm areas. It requires an optimum temperature of 20-24 degrees celcius. Avocado, grows in deep soils that are well drained to avoid root rot. Although avocados are fairly resistant to drought, thy require well distributed rainfall of between 1000-1200mm for proper crop development. The best soils are sandy or alluvial loam with a PH ranging from 5-7.

Planting Hass Avocado

Hass avocado farming in kenya is is grown from seeds, however, to ensure you have the right hass cultivar, grafting is done which increases resistance to diseases, improves yield and increases its adaptability to different soils. Growers found that grafting small stems onto the seedling of another type of avocado produces a tree that matures faster and bears far more fruit than one grown from a Hass seed.

Planting material must be inspected by qualified personnel to ensure they are free from diseases. In case of newly cleared land, it is advisable to plant an annual crop a year before growing avocados, in order to achieve a good tillage of the cleared land. If there are strong winds, ensure the necessary wind-breakers such as hedges are in place.

It is advisable to plant the trees in straight lines to facilitate crop husbandry and harvesting. In Kenya, the rectangular pattern of planting is preferred for hass avocados, as it eases movement of machinery in between rows as well as other activities such as inspection, thinning, and pruning. Tree spacing depends on several factors such as soil fertility and climatic conditions. Spacing may range from, 5m by 5m, 6m by 7m to 8m by 10m.

The planting holes should be 2 feet by 2 feet. Use about one bucket of farmyard manure properly mixed with top soil. Planting should be done after the onset of rains when rainwater has properly penetrated the soil. When filling up the holes, do not damage the roots. Irrigate the newly planted Hass avocado trees or seeds preferably until the first shoots appear. Tie the young plants to sticks to support them.

Pruning hass avocados

Pruning starts at the planting stage where roots that are too long and do not fit in the planting hole are reduced in size. During the early stages of growth, trees are trained in order to maintain a good framework. Pruning is also normally done before flowering and upon completion of harvesting. The general guideline is that the tree canopy height should be 70% of row width. This allows light to penetrate. Pruning improves yield and provides a superior tree structure.

Thinning is also done by removing some of the already formed fruits in order reduce competition for nutrients, therefore ensuring high-quality fruits. Too many fruits will result to small sized fruits. Ensure weed is controlled to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Some of the methods for weed control are mechanical cultivation, cover cropping, and mulching.

Pests and Diseases that affect hass Avocado farming in Kenya

The most efficient and economical method of pest and disease control is prevention. These preventive measures include weed control, proper selection of planting material, maintaining optimum plant density and proper fertilizer application.

Hass avocado farming in Kenya is not considerably affected by pests and rarely will pest control require a chemical application. However, some of the major pests attacking avocados include, False codling moth which is a brownish, night-flying moth, thrips, and Scale insects

Fungal diseases may also affect avocados and therefore need to be checked. They include;

  • Root rot – Also known as Phytophthora cinnamomi, it is mostly found in areas with poorly drained soils and flood prone areas. Some of the preventive measures include fungal and hot water treatment of seeds and grafting on phytophthora resistant rootstock. There are two chemicals registered to combat this disease i.e. Ridomil, active ingredient Metalaxyl, is a granular formulation which is applied in the soil, and works by killing the pathogen. Aliette, the second chemical is applied onto the leaves.
  • It’s also called Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. It attacks the fruits, forming dry, dark brown sports. It mostly attacks mature fruits. It is controlled using copper based fungicides as well as spraying with chemicals such as Benomyl, Mancozeb, Metiram, Propineb, Thiabendazole or Triforine.
  • Cercospora fruit spot or Pseudocercospora purpurea also affects the fruits leaving small, light yellow spots which eventually turn to a brownish color on leaves and fruits. It’s controlled using similar methods to Anthracnose.
  • It attacks fruits, twigs, and leaves. Lesions emerge as little dark spots a little raised and are oval or elongated. It’s controlled using similar methods to Anthracnose.

Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Harvesting of hass avocados

Kenya Hass Avocados flowers at around October and are mature for picking between June to September. It is important to know how to identify the correct harvesting period because avocados are harvested raw and ripen off the tree. Harvest a few fruits and keep them in favourable conditions to ripen. If the fruits ripen evenly, they can be considered to have been mature. Careful picking of similar fruits from the trees can now commence.

Avocado is harvested between April and September in Kenya. Since most varieties do not change colour on maturity, a few fruits should be picked and stored at room temperature for 7-10 days. If they soften without shrivelling, then the fruit is ready for harvesting. Fruit should not be pulled from the stalk but be cut off leaving a 3-cm stalk.

Postharvest: The following treatment, processing and packaging methods should be used to prolong shelf life:

Pre-cooling -After harvesting, avocadoes must be cooled as quickly as possible to the optimum storage temperature of 5oC for Fuerte and Hass varieties; within 5 h of harvesting.

Hot Water Treatment -This treatment is used to kill fungal spores on and in the skin of the fruit. The avocadoes should be immersed in water heated to a temperature of 50°C for 3-5 min. Treatment of fruit using fungicides such as Bavistin (Carbendazim) and Sporta K Brochlura z improves the effectiveness of this treatment.

Grading And Packaging– Avocado fruits are graded according to size and weight. Injured and diseased fruits should be removed. The fruits are packed as per the orders and quality standards in 4 kg cartons after all debris, soil and foreign particles are removed using a water bath. This water must be changed periodically to avoid cross contamination. A fungicidial treatment (Thiabendazole) at 300 ml per 100 L of water is used. The fruits are waxed, and dried in hot air. Avocado fruits are stored in cold storage (5°C).

Kenya Becomes an Avocado Powerhouse in Africa Overtaking South Africa

Market – The most important factors ensuring successful marketing are quality, packaging, rapid adaptation of exports to seasonal fluctuations and changing market situations (supply and demand), an intact logistical chain (including proper cooling along the marketing chain and competitive prices).

Investors who plan on venturing in the hass export business must clearly target the specifit market segment if they want to reap the full benefits of avocado-production. The export market doesn’t start with buying the seedlings for planting. Fresh products export needs a long term plan of venturing into one of the most stringent markets ever, more so for those targeting the EU food market, which is strictest in the world.

 

Hass Avocado Seedlings

 

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Kenya Becomes an Avocado Powerhouse in Africa Overtaking South Africa

Avocado sales to China are expected to be more than double this year as demand continues to grow for the fruit from the country’s expanding middle-class population. It appears to just double every year. And, the pace of growth shows no sign of slowing as more health-conscious consumers in the world’s most populous nation show an interest in the “heart-healthy” avocados, executives say. The fruit also appeals to “young, trendy people,” said Barnard.

One big beneficiary of the growing demand is Kenya, the greatest avocado producer in Africa. The Chinese market has been growing at a very fast pace. Avocado has evolved into a trending ingredient worldwide and has particular resonance in China and Russia— where it’s commonly known as butter fruit — due to its somewhat exotic positioning.

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Most of the demand in China is from urban consumers in the largest cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Chinese millennials who have traveled overseas also are helping to grow the market. Demand for avocados also is strong in Japan and other parts of Europe such as Netherlands.

Russia and Italy are key destinations of the green skins in Europe. Italy is yet to make a mark in the Kenya avocado scene as Russia has done. This is why the bulk of local Fuerte goes to Asian destinations.

Italy and Russia are among the key buyers of Avocado in Europe. However, Italy is yet to position itself in the Kenya avocado scene compared to Russia. This is more of a reason why most of our fuerte goes to Asian countries.

According to Selina Wamucii, a company that sources fresh produce from farmers, Kenya Avocados’ impressive volumetric growth rate per year and access to new markets has helped the country to overtake South Africa as the number one exporter of avocados from Africa.  According to Trade statistics from International Trade Centre (ITC), the East African country became the 11th largest exporter avocados in the world in 2017, exporting a record volume of 51, 507 tons to the world. South Africa, traditionally the lead exporter of avocados from the continent, relinquished the position and trailed Kenya for the first time in five years with 43, 492 tons.

Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Statistically, as the top performer in the Africa avocado exporting industry, Kenya holds 1.3% of the total world volume. South Africa follows by 1.1 percent, a depreciation from the 2016 peak of 1.6% when it was Africa’s export champion. Even though these two countries’ figures are a far cry from the 48.4 percent market share of Mexico, they are nonetheless impressive for each country. While Kenya boasts new markets like the Russian Federation and South-east Asia, South Africa has over 90% of its exports going to European Union countries, (ITC 2018).

Why farmers should plant more Avocado

There is no other perfect time to invest in avocado like this time. Kenya has not only attracted avocado export to South Africa, but has also overtaken S.A in terms of export to become number one in the continent.

We are in a very strong position to sustain avocado export dominance in Africa. With players such as Oxfarm, Kakuzi Ltd, Selina Wamucii and the likes who source avocado from farmers,  will surprise the world. The Kenya’s small-scale farmers are the backbone of this country and with right information and management, our future is secure.

 

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Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Kakuzi ltd which is listed in Nairobi exchange and deals in farming is planning an exit on pineapple farming. After growing pineapples for over two decades now, it is signaling a shift in its products. Kakuzi Ltd is increasing acreage under avocados whose demand has skyrocketed globally.

Read: Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Avocados Has Better Profits

Kakuzi Ltd while announcing that decision in March 2018, they also announce a 5.2% increase in net profit to Sh561.6 million for the year ended December 2017. The profit increase according to the company is attributed to the higher international avocado and macadamia prices.

Although the company which owns more than 25,000 acres of land has been growing tea, forestry, livestock , pineapples and other fruits, it has now decided to focus its efforts on growing hass avocado whose returns per-acre are much higher than that of pineapples.

In a statement produced by Kakuzi, the decision was reached to discontinue with fresh pineapple operation in favor of planting pinkerton, hass and fuerte avocado varieties.

The  major pineapple producers in Kenya include Kakuzi, Del Monte’s in Thika and Ndemo farm in Kilgoris. For the years now, Kakuzi has become synonymous with the crop.

While some of its harvest is exported to countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands – mostly in canned form – Kakuzi has always sold its produce in the local market. The fruit is also used to make concentrate for juice products.

Read: How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Hass Avocados and Macadmia Nuts

Over the past several years, macadamia and avocado have become choice crops for agricultural firma in Kenya with Kakuzi, Sasini and other major players reaping heavily.

In 2017, according to their statement, the company closed with 1,500 acres of land under avocado from which it harvested 7,282 tonnes of fruit. At its peak, Kakuzi had over 120 acres of its own land under pineapple and another 1,100 acres under a joint venture with juice maker Del Monte.

However, in 2017, the company closed with just 60 acres of its land under pineapple and the partnership between Delmonte is set to be terminated in future years.

According to Kakuzi, the increase in profit is as a result of continued market demand for avocado and macadamia throughout the year. The company also attributed profitability within the Tea operations has continued to reflect the difficult trading conditions and significant inflationary pressure on labor and other production costs.

Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Now you know why we have continually advised you to plant hass avocados and macadamia. If the big boys are shifting, why do you sit there claiming that there is no market, or it will flood.

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Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Farmers in Kenya have been complaining about market and low prices of their products. Be it maize, beans, coffee, tea or wheat these are common sentiments. This is so because of unpredictable prices, changing weather conditions, and expensive farm inputs.

Organizations and farming companies are offering new farming methods and better options such as Macadamia and Hass avocados.  In areas such as north rift where farmers are known to grow maize, organizations are enlightening farmers on Macadamia farming. The reason NGOs and other interested parties are concerned about North rift is because north rift is because they have fertile extensive lands which they can do large-scale farming.

Sasini, and other companies have invested heavily in North rift where they aim to buy Macadamia nuts and Hass Avocado fruits from farmers.

Hass avocado farming and Macadamia nuts farming is not only a good investment for the farmers but also to the environment as it improves the tree cover. The recommended forest cover in Kenya is 10% while currently its less than 7%.  Another advantage of Macadamia nuts and Hass Avocado is that a farmer will always harvest a fruit as long as he lives and the tree will remain. Unlike planting a tree such as Cyprus or cedar which will be harvested upon maturity.

According to hass avocado and macadamia traders, the market is increasing but there is limitation in production.

Unlike other crops farming, hass and fruit farming does not require much of your time and you can grow them as you still do other things.

Read: How to manage soil to prevent insects and pests

No short cuts for Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

If you are a farmer or you are interested in hass avocado or macadamia nuts farming and you want good production and better prices, don’t cut corners.

How to ensure you increase produce goods fruits, nuts

  • Ensure you plant the right variety (not just avocados or macadamia)
  • Always insist on certified seedlings
  • Maintain good care.

Start with clean and high-quality planting materials for higher yield. You should have known by now that export market requires quality procedure. At Oxfarm, we have quality seedlings (hass avocado and macadamia (Murang’a 20)) that are certified by both HCD and KEPHIS.

Read: Why you shouldn’t Worry about hass avocado Market

Advantages of Grafted Over Non-Grafted hass avocado and Macadamia nuts

  • Grafted do not take too long to mature – they take only 2-3 years to produce fruits while the non-grafted takes 7- 10 years
  • Production is more
  • Grafted trees do not grow as tall as the non-grafted ones

Kenya produces 150, 000 annually where 70% is grown by small-scale farmers. Over time, local market has been the biggest beneficiary but for the last few years things have changed drastically. Farmers are now interested on the export market and have now commercialized and there are more people interested in large scale farming of hass avocado.

Read: How to Boost Your Agribusiness Through Marketing

Don’t be left behind, change gears to tree fruit farming and make money as you still do other things.

 

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Why you shouldn’t Worry about hass avocado Market

Hass avocado, the once an abundance fruit is slowly turning into a luxurious item. Would you have one day thought that an avocado could one day be so in fashion? What is affecting the fruit and making it so luxurious?

The truth is that even the already high prices are likely to spike. As of now, the prices are a record high and there seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel to the farmers. This is indeed something that has gotten most foodies worried. To purchase an avocado today you must pay twice of the thrice of what was the cost some months ago.

A few months ago in USA, there has been an uproar, particularly on the social media by hipster complaining about the scarcity and the high prices that the fruit has attracted. As usual, some may be arguing from the point of ignorance and coming up with many theories to explain their situations. With the launch of direct flights from Kenya to USA, hass avocado farming can only go higher.

One thing we must all agree is that the scarcity and high prices have everything with market forces. We know that high demand attracts high prices. This is what has been happening world over. There has been no withholding of the product, but the supply has gone extremely low from last years. From the economist perspective, there is nothing unusual about the current state of the hass avocado market. The situation is being informed by the various forces in the market. In fact, a close look at the situation shows that there have been two almost equal forces affecting this niche and thus the acute shortage and spike in price. These forces are the dwindling production and bulging consumers market.

Related: Shade nets and why they are important in today’s farming

Decreasing Production of Hass Avocados in South American Countries

Let us take a look at the supply end and establish how it could have contributed to the current state. There are several factors that we can identify from the supply that has contributed to the shortage the market is experiencing. According to the release records, the production of the avocado in South America nations has been adversely affected by various factors since 2016. Countries such as Mexico which supplies almost a half of the international market had a very bad season from last years. Other countries such as Chile, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic and the United States among others also posted poor harvest.

Climate change can be said to have affected the production of the fruits. The extended droughts in some of the most productive parts of the world are causing a sharp decline in production. It is important to note that export from Mexico dropped by half last year according to Hass Avocado Board. Another factor that is contributing to the reduced supply is the number of farmers moving away from the crop. This is due to the high production costs. One of the key problems has been the amount of water that the avocado plant requires to bear fruit in a season.

Why not take this advantage as Kenyans and produce more hass avocados?

Related: How to Boost Your Agribusiness Through Marketing

Bulging Consumption Market of Hass Avocado

For over time now, the consumption market of hass avocado has been expanding at a very high rate. The fact that hass avocado can be used in many ways has made it very popular among larger population.  Apart from being a fruit, hass avocado has also been established to possess high medicinal value. These are just some of the factors that have contributed to its market expansion. Among the latest entrance into the avocado consumption market is China.

The entrance of Chinese in the consumption is believed to have destabilized the Europeans and the American markets. With its sheer size of the middle-class population, the demand for the avocado has shot to the roof. Note that Chinese middle class is more than 100 million and they’re the main consumer of avocado. What’s more interesting the price at which the item is selling in the Chinese market. It has been established that Chinese middle class is willing to pay more for the product. This demand can be explained by the increase in export to China by various countries such as Kenya. In short, China is a new and huge market that is opening up while the production of the item is stagnating or dwindling in major producing countries.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Start an Agribusiness in Kenya Today

Although China is thinking of producing their own avocado, Kenya stands a better chance due to its good climatic conditions. We should all take this advantage and plant more hass avocados. The market is there, let no body lie to you that it’s a scheme. Avocado is a fruit that is so loved both locally and abroad.

 

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How Many Years Will It Take To Get Returns On Invested Capital Under Hass Avocado Farming

There is a growing concern that the fast expanding and globalized competitive world market is causing decline in grower returns and expansion of urban development and environmental regulations causing production cost increases and challenging the viability and sustainability of producing these hass avocado. Muranga and Kiambu counties are among the top  hass avocado producing counties in Kenya. These counties make up 49% of the Kenyan hass avocado industry; grossing over Ksh 1 billion in 2017.

Hass avocado farming is a booming venture and the demand is overwhelming. If you are a farmer and a businessman, think hass avocado.

Facts about hass Avocado Market

  • Global avocado consumption has grown strongly over the last decade,
  • While demand in the U.S. market has nearly tripled in this time, demand in the EU market has remained relatively stable
  • The EU’s difficulty in finding sources for increased supply and seasonal price fluctuations offers a high potential export opportunity
  • Kenya has the ideal agro-climatic conditions for hass avocado cultivation
  • Kenya provides a cheaper cost basis for avocado packaging / export than other countries in the EAC
  • Kenya is well positioned to serve as an extension of the existing regional avocado export network
  • The farm gate price at local market in current year for a 4kg carton is Ksh 200 – 500. It has been increasing per year so we predict it will even double in five years’ time as global demand of hass avocado increases.
  • With your farm production it’s easy to export especially when you have grown them organically. At global market last year a 4kg carton was retailing at Ksh 2000-3500.
  • Export-oriented industries enjoy substantial Government support

Read: How to write a business plan for your agribusiness venture/dairy farming/horticultural farming

What is Return on Capital Invested (ROIC)?

Return on Capital Invested Capital (ROIC) is most precisely a profitability ratio. This ratio helps one understand how the business is using its invested capital i.e. equity, raw materials, production cost and debt to generate profit at the end of the day.

The reason this ratio is so very important for investors before investment is because this ratio gives them an idea about which type of farming to venture in. Because the percentage of profits generated from the invested capital is a direct ratio of how good a farm is doing in terms of transmuting its capital into income.

While calculating this ratio, one thing you need to remember is that whether you are taking the core income of the business (i.e. most of the times “net income” of the farm) as a measuring grid. The business can generate incomes from other sources, but if it’s not from their core operations, it shouldn’t be taken into account.

Establishment And Production Practices Of Hass Avocado

Land preparation and Planting

Hass avocado at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

In Muranga and Kiambu counties there have been very little avocado orchard establishment on new open land since 2015. If new orchards are planted, they are commonly planted on previous avocado ground. The typical land preparation for an avocado orchard planting includes the following.

  • Set in a rectangular system that allows for movement of orchard equipment between the trees for spraying and harvesting.
  • Spacing of hass avocado can vary from 5m * 5m to 9m* 5m but the final decision rests with the grower
  • 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.
  • Make sure 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 should be 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 * 2ft *2ft.
  • When ready for planting the bag is carefully cut open along one side without disturbing the root system. Loose soil is piled into the 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.
  • The majority of the land preparation operations including irrigation and drainage system installations are done by contractors.

Read: 8 types of agribusiness ideas to think about in 2018

Pruning

Pruning begins in establishment year 4. Pruning is needed for improving yield for profitability, reducing fertilization needs, and maximizing tree-bearing surfaces. Pruning consists of removing deadwood and overcrowding branches, and creation and maintenance of desirable structure and size. Growers in these regions typically prune once per year in September starting in establishment year 4. Pruning is considered to take 6 minutes per tree in year 4; 7 minutes per tree in year 5; 9 minutes per tree in year 6.

Read: Improving banana farming in Kenya through Value Addition

Hass Avocado Projections After Establishment (5 Acres)

Below is a projection and an estimated income. From this information a farmer is able to calculate return on capital for his project depending on the capital injected. Capital will vary depending on place and whether the farmer owns a land or will have to lease.

 

Year Expected no of (kg) per hass tree/year

(Calculate with average)

Total number of trees (5 Acres) Total average no of Carton. (1 carton = 4kg) Total income

Cost of a 4kg cartoon

(Ksh50-120)

Ave- ksh 75

2nd 10-13 750 2250 0.2 millon
3rd 40-60 750 9375 0.7 million
4th 80-120 750 18750 1.4 million
5th 130-160 750 27187 2.0 million
6th 170-185 750 33187 2.5 million
7th 200-220 750 39375 3.0 million
8th 220-230 750 42187 3.1 million
9th 230-240 750 44062 3.3 million
10th 240-270 750 47812 3.6 million
:

:

:

:

:

17th 650-750 1300 105000 7.8m
:

:

:

:

50th

Note! Oxfarm.co.ke only advises you and is not liable whatsoever. Always follow your instincts, consult your agricultural experts and do your own research.

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The Definitive Guide On Hass Avocado Farming

Hass avocado farming is gaining popularity in Kenya and the entire world day by day. Grow yours today and you will never regret as the demand of the fruit keeps on rising. Be patient about seeing fruit. If you have purchased and planted our seedlings, you can probably expect to see your first fruit 2-3 years after planting. If you are growing from seed, it can take anywhere from 5 to 13 years before the tree is mature enough to set fruit. When the tree does flower, expect a lot of flowers to fall from the tree without setting fruit. This is natural. Patience pays, however with our certified seedlings you don’t have to wait for long.

Read Also: Pros and Cons of Chicken farming in Kenya

How to Plant

• Before you plant, ensure your cultivar is right for you and your site and for you – they vary significantly including tree height, hardiness, fruit flavor, ripening and harvest time, and more.
• New trees should be planted on mounds 18 inches to two feet high, and six feet across, even when you have fast draining soil. Use a lot of compost manure in the planting hole, and the more mulch the better: With their shallow roots, avocados thrive in deep mulch. Never rake up the leaves – leave the leaves where they fall.
• Avocados do not do well in containers – they should be planted on the ground. To keep your avocado under eight feet, prune annually and don’t let it get out of hand.

Heat and Cold Protection

• Weather over 35 degrees Celsius may deter fruit set. Keep trees especially well-watered when it’s hot.
• If the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius, We recommend you put coffee hulls (available for free from coffee roasters), straw, leaves or another kind of mulch to cover the trunk six inches above the bud graft and/or cover with nursery cloth.
• If your tree suffers frost damage, the top of the tree may look dead. Dead material protects the lower branches from freezing. In spring, the dead stuff falls off and the new growth comes out.

Read Also: 5 Things to Consider When Thinking of Starting a Fish Production

Pollination

• Bees are the prime pollinators of avocados. We recommend boosting their numbers in and around the trees during their flowering period to increase fruit set. Try bee-loving plants such as rosemary, or establish a hive near your trees.
• Planting both an A type such as Hass and a B type cultivar such as Fuerte, may dramatically increase fruit set
Site Selection
• If you grow a more tender variety outside your recommended zone, protect the trees when they are young and find a favorable microclimate on your site.
o Plant on slopes. This allows for excellent drainage to prevent root rot and increase frost protection because cold air sinks and accumulates on valley floors, bypassing the trees
o Avocados can do beautifully in the flats, especially in low frost areas with good sun and mild summers.
o Given the right care and conditions, Hass cultivars can grow and bear inland.

Harvesting Tips

• The best place to store fruit is on the tree. Some varieties hold their fruit well for up to six months, while others don’t. Picking fruit only when needed may extend the harvest period for many months. The longer avocados sit on the tree the higher the oil content.
• Avocados are mature before picking, but not ready to eat. They must be softened off the tree. The softening process takes from a few days to a week or even longer. To keep them from ripening, refrigerate them. To speed up ripening, put them in a paper bag with an apple or a banana.
• Given the space, you can harvest all year round by planting varieties that ripen successively, since different avocado varieties flower and set fruit at different times.
• Once avocados get really big, they are unruly. To harvest, you must climb up to the tree’s extremities with your fruit picker.
• For easy harvest, keep trees below 12 feet.

Also Read: How to Be Smart in The World of Agribusiness

Learn from the best, contact us and we will advise you as well as provide you with seedlings.

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Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

For many years, farmers in the central highlands of Kenya have depended on Coffee and tea farming as the main cash crops. Everything was going on well with farmers smiling to the banks until sometime back when prices plummeted to the great disappointment of coffee farmers in Kenya.

But just when doom seemed like the inevitable reality for these farmers, came the Hass avocado, a variety that has a high demand overseas. Hope has been rekindled and farmers’ accounts are now swelling since the export market is too hungry for this crop.

Hass avocado farming in Kenya is bigger than coffee. Any unit of the tree if appropriately managed will provide 1,000 fruits/tree a year. According to the current prices by for example Kakuzi Ltd, a single fruit sell between Ksh 10 and Ksh 20 and sometimes goes even beyond Ksh 30.

 

With that, we can do a rapid calculation: an acre of avocado can have 150 trees well-spaced (17ft by 17 ft). If at full maturity a tree can give you 1000 fruits, and we assume the market is fair and a fruit goes for Ksh 15, it then means that 1000X15X150 = 2.25M per year

Keeping in mind the under-supplied market and the fact that avocado trees require little attention, this is a venture worth investing in. It takes only 2 -3 years to start harvesting.

Related Post: The benefits of certified fruit seedlings

Strict Requirements

Handle all avocados with great care! Export markets, especially the European market, have very strict quality requirements which smallholders may find difficult to meet. Local markets are less complicated but also tricky, because avocados tend to mature all at the same time, making it unprofitable for farmers to sell them.

It is almost impossible for farmers to store or process avocados. Commercial avocado growers must therefore be linked closely to a good market

Kindly book your seedlings as early enough to allow us to serve you better.

 

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Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

Jungle Nut Holdings Limited, a Thika-based firm is offering better prices to avocado and macadamia farmers in Kiambu and Murang’a counties. Jungle Nut Holdings Limited also provides financial support and agricultural training.

Speaking during farmers’ organic and e-buying workshop at a Thika hotel last year, J-Hela accounts manager James Kimotho said middlemen and brokers have been exploiting farmers for a long time. Kimotho said farmers will be paid Sh120 per kilogramme for macademia nuts. Brokers had paid Sh30 per kilogramme.

Kimotho said that Jungle Nut Holdings Limited will collect the nuts from the field to relieve farmers of the burden of transport cost. The firm has introduced a mobile banking platform — J-Hela. Farmers can save money, borrow money and buy products. Kimotho said the firm has developed a business model with the farmers for commercializing of both macadamia and avocados farming.

Jungle Nut Holdings Limited guide farmers on the best farming methods to ensure they get high yields. The firm has also created a marketing plan based on comprehensive study of global markets.

Related Content: drip irrigation in fruits

Farmers now get handsome profits

“J-Hela enables us to directly buy produce from the farmers electronically. They receive payments via their phones using on the same service. This eliminates middlemen. They also make payments on the same platform for farm inputs,” he added

Stephen Waweru, a macademia farmer from Gatanga, Murang’a, said since he entered into partnership with Jungle Nut in 2014, his production has risen from 100kgs to 500kgs annually.

“We used to hear macadamia nuts fetch high prices, but we never made handsome profits because of brokers. We did not have direct markets. But Jungle Nut came to our rescue,” Waweru said.

Many farmers in the region are now switching to macadamia and avocado. Coffee and tea farming is not paying, he said.

Bernard Mwangi, an avocado farmer from Muruka, Kandara, said Jungle Nut introduced the Hass variety and taught them how to grow them organically. Mwangi said farmers’ lives have improved.

Kimotho said the company has expanded to other counties, including Embu.

Many more farmers now are venturing in macadamia farming.

For more information on macadamia farming and avocado farming call us or visit our offices.