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The greatest challenge facing avocado farming

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

Hass Avocado seedlings at Oxfarm.co.ke Nursery In Ridgeways Nairobi

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.

 

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Ways To Propagate, Transplant, Manage And Harvest Moringa

Moringa is a money making tree, in our post we will tell you more on how to propagate and grow Moringa.

Propagation Through Seeds;

  • Fill in seedlings bags with light soil mixture.
  • Plant two or three seeds in each bag. (The seeds should have been soaked overnight.)
  • Keep moist but not too wet. Germination will occur within two weeks.
  • Remove extra seedlings, leaving one in the bag.

Seedlings can be transplanted after four to six months when they reach  2-3ft tall.

Transplanting; 

  • Dig the hole 1ft wide and 1 ft depth.
  • Mix compost or manure with the top soil and fill back the hole with the mixture. Manure should be 1 or 2 shovelfuls.
  • Make a hole in the pit to accept all soil in the bag. Keep the soil around the seedling intact.
  • Water lightly for the first few days.

NB; SPACING OF Moringa depends on the intended purpose of production.

For seed production 2m by 2m; 1000 trees an acre, and 1m by 1m; 4000 trees an acre, for leaf production.

Management of Moringa

Moringa tree grows quickly and so must be pruned aggressively to encourage lateral growth and increased production.

  • When the tree is at 1m cut to height of 0.5m.
  • When the tree is at 1.5m cut to height of 1m.
  • When the tree is at 2m cut to height of 1.5.
  • When the tree is at 2.5m cut to a height of 2m.

Harvesting;

-Flowers will appear around 4-9 months.

-Seed pods will mature in around 12 months.

-When harvesting leaves or seed pods prune trees to a height of 2 meters.

-leaves can be harvested once the plant reaches a height of 1.5metres.

-Harvesting rows at different times will ensure there will be always leaves ready to harvest as they are needed.

-During the rainy season harvest of leaves can be done in a week time but during the dry spell you can harvest after two weeks.

Seeds fetch 250ksh per kg while a kg of moringa leaf powder fetches at 300ksh

Photos of Moringa leaf powder and Moringa seeds.