Posted on

Hass Avocado Market Expands As Kenya Signs New Deal with China

hass avocado deal

Trade CS Peter Munya with Chinese government officials while signing the formal Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreements./ COURTESY: STAR

Hass avocado is one of the biggest fruit in the market and soon or later it will be the biggest. Its demand is growing tremendously.

In the new developments experienced in the month of November 2018, Kenya will now export hass avocado, French beans, mangoes, peanuts, and hides and skins to China.

This happened after a week of delicate negotiations of formal sanitary and phytosanitary between Kenya and China that saw the agreements being signed between Kenya and China for Kenya‘s Agriculture produce to enter the Chinese market.

Apart from hass avocados, other products that were approved are legumes, vegetables and fruits, herbs, meat, bixa, macademia nuts, gum Arabica, myrrh and Asian vegetables like chilli and karela.

The government through state house chief of staff said Kenya and China have also formally launched their technical working group to commence negotiations on the expansion of trade opportunities and review of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

Earlier when President Uhuru Kenyatta had expressed concern about the trade imbalance when he visited China for bilateral talks in early November 2018.

President Uhuru Kenyatta asked China to give preferential treatment to goods from Africa as it continues opening up its vast market to the rest of the world.

Hass Avocado and Macadamia farming will Improve Lives “ Kiraitu Murungi”

He made the call when he delivered a keynote address at the inaugural China International Import Expo held in Shanghai. Uhuru called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to enact measures to proactively raise the volume of goods coming from the African continent to China. On another meeting before, Kenyatta said China can start by reducing tariffs on specific goods so that more traders from countries including Kenya can access the vast Chinese market of 1.4 billion people.

While acknowledging China’s leading role in the Kenyan economy as a trading partner, the President called for increased Chinese investments in the country.

He noted that China now ranks as the number one trading partner with Kenya accounting for 17.2% of Kenya’s total trade with the World.

Now, if you are a farmer in Kenya willing to grow hass avocado and you are worried there might be no enough market, well stop worrying as the government and major stakeholders are doing all they can to ensure your product gets to the market and fetches the best prices. The ball is in your hand, as a farmer, however, we are here for you!

 

 

Posted on

9 little talked about (why agriculture is the best for your retirement and why you should think about it)

The above pictured person is James Karugu, Former Attorney General of Kenya who many years ago retired/quit to do farming in Kiambu County. (Courtesy of Daily Nation)

As we all know, farm life is not everybody’s cup of tea, so this message is dedicated to those who have the intention of retiring to a farm somewhere, but are not convinced that it’s the right thing to do. Well, Oxfarm Ag is here to help you make it happen!

Lets talk about women first.  Women either love or hate farming. The few in the middle are forced into the life of frugal and healthy living because of circumstances -which is unfortunate, but we can always hope that they will come to love farm life.

Most women who enjoy farm life despite the hardships are caregivers – they care for and devote their entire existence to the family

With men it’s a bit more complicated. First there’s the ego issue. Then there’s the dilemma – should it be the town house or the farm house?

This message is meant for wage earners who hopefully have saved enough of their after-tax take home pay or their pension money, whatever the case may be, for retirement.

Retirement doesn’t have to be when you are 55 or 60 or whatever the ‘official’ retirement age is in your company. Retirement is when you are ready to lift up and take your nose away from the grindstone, look up at life and begin living it. And I say go ahead, get yourself a farm or an orchard and spend your retirement there.

How to start commercial Bee keeping in Kenya

Retirement In a Farm? Things to Consider !

  • If you are retiring away on your own, you will appreciate the space (literally and figuratively)
  • After the initial euphoria of the long-awaited retirement, which lasts about two weeks, you will find it tough going to get through the twelve hours daylight sitting around the house, and another twelve to get you through the night. There’s only so much sleeping you can do. So it would be a great relief that you could be away from the house, not just for a few hours, but a few days, weeks or even months
  • Consider this: you will be walking around in a vast open space with a pruner instead of a five iron in your hand
  • You get more exercise, fresher air and the same sunshine you get on a golf course minus the stress and frustration.
  • As you walk you get to talk to your animals and your trees which don’t talk back to you
  • You can still go fishing, in fact the river running beside your farm may be teeming with fish
  • You can stop and smell the flowers, as often as you like
  • If you have been working in the city, thirty years of inhaling polluted air is enough, isn’t it?
  • Instead of walking your grandchildren in shopping malls, walk them around your orchard where they can feed the animals and climb the fruit trees. It’s good for them, good for you too.

But you need to be ready and be committed. Don’t say one day I will do it, instead say I will have enough money by the time I retire, to retire to my desired place. That’s called a plan, not a dream

If you already have a land somewhere, start planning early, plant trees, build a house, so that by the time you retire, you will have an already functioning farm.

Posted on

Hass Avocado and Macadamia farming will Improve Lives “ Kiraitu Murungi”

On Friday 5th October 2018, H.E governor Kiraitu Murungi distributed hybrid Macadamia and Hass Avocado seedlings to farmers in Meru.

Although the governor was categorical that he doesn’t encourage farmers to uproot their miraa, he was quick to note that hass avocado and macadamia farming is the future.

In January 2018, Meru County government through the governor took major steps in empowering farmers in the region to embrace diversity and stop depending on traditional cash crops such as tea and coffee. Towards that end, the County’s Department of Agriculture promised to distribute half a million seedlings of avocado in the next two years.

Top Skills farmers need to be successful in Kenya

The Hass avocado species has been identified for the project which if successful, should see farmers earn at least ten thousand shillings from each tree every season.

As he was speaking at Gitoro ASK showground, the governor asked Trade and Industrialization CS and former Meru governor to help get a good market for farmers. He distributed over 400,000 seedlings.

With the demand for avocados growing in the west, Kenyan farmers are upping production of the coveted crop and reaping the benefits.

Farmers are now switching from coffee and tea to avocados in a bid to profit from the growing European demand. Kenya produces an estimated 115,000 metric tonnes of avocados annually, a figure that is about to increase as farmers embrace news.

Kenya is currently the world’s sixth largest exporter of hass avocado. In recent years, the popularity of hass avocados has increased and is driven by the global awareness of their health benefits.

However, there are concerns by stakeholders that Kenyan farmers should not rush to uproot their coffee trees in order to plant Avocado. This is because it takes about two to three years to start producing fruit, and a further two to reach maturity. However, you can inter-crop and later uproot coffee.

If you are looking for a better way to earn from farming contact us.

 

Posted on

How to get more customers for your agricultural products

Rearing animals, agri-tourism, fiber, yarn, new or cooked food, cultivate related services—the rundown of potential money streams for your farm is just constrained by your interest, time and imagination. Your farm produce marketing plan begins with a basic list of the major products and services at present offer or need to offer later on. An effective plan can help extend your client base and prompt extra income.

Read: Successful fish farming in Kenya

Identify your farm’s market

If asked the question, “Who are you marketing your farm product to?” your first instinct might be to say “Anyone who will buy.” But if you put some thought into it you’ll realize the answer is much more complex. Do women or men buy more frequently from you? Are your customers young, middle-aged or retired? Do they belong to a certain ethnic group? Do your buyers tend to be of a certain income level? Do they live in a particular area or are they geographically dispersed?

If your farm already has customers, think of your best ones. Who are they and how would you describe them? If you’re just starting out and don’t have customers yet, observe your potential competitors and their customer base. By knowing who your customers or prospects are, you can increase the likelihood they will buy from you by tailoring your marketing message to their needs and desires.

Keep in mind that your target demographic might be different for the different products and services you offer. If you have a sheep/goat farm, for instance, your breeding stock buyers may be local farmers, while buyers might be located in a large city a few hours away, and the middle-aged female hand spinners who buy your fleeces might be spread all across the country.

Read: The Demand For Honey Is Big, How About You Think Of Bee Keeping

Set your farm apart

It’s important for any business to establish its unique selling proposition, or USP. A USP is the answer to the question, “Why should someone do business with me instead of my competition?” What unique benefits does your farm offer? Freshness, quality, personal service, rarity … these can all be part of your USP.

A good USP is a clear, simple and concise statement of the benefits you offer. Along with your product line and target demographic, your USP becomes your North Star, always guiding you even when things seem foggy and the future uncertain.

Spend some time creating your USP and write it down in a prominent spot, be it in the gardening shed, barn or office. Your USP should be kept front and center as a constant reminder of your farm’s purpose and direction.

Now that you’ve established what you’re selling, whom you’re selling it to and what makes it different, you’re ready to get down to the nitty-gritty aspects of implementing a marketing plan. Most marketing plans incorporate a variety of components. Among those you will need to consider include a logo, tagline, website, association membership, advertising, events, customer service, timing and budget.

Create a farm logo.

Your farm’s logo can be something as simple as your farm name in a distinctive font, or it can be more intricate and include illustrated elements that pertain to your product or farm name. A logo should project a business image based on your goals and objectives, and elicit a general feeling for your brand. For example, if you have a wildflower farm that caters to a female clientele, you may want your logo to evoke romance, using soft, natural colors (grass green, sunflower yellow, sky blue or pastels) and a more feminine font to achieve this.

While you can create a farm logo on your computer that is suitable for desktop printing, if you plan on expanding your marketing efforts into packaging, professionally printed materials and signage, you might want to enlist the help of a professional graphic designer. Sign makers, embroiderers and commercial printers all have specific requirements for file format and quality that is difficult to achieve with most home or small-business software. A graphic designer can help you achieve a more polished look and will be able to provide you with the specific file formats you’ll need later on.

If you decide to have your logo professionally designed, finding the right designer is important. Do they know your business or businesses similar to yours? Do they have a style you find appealing? If you want illustrated elements in your logo, can they design these for you or are they limited to using readily available clip art?

The designer should provide you with a few versions of your logo including a high-resolution file for print use (300 dpi), a low-resolution file for web use (72 dpi) and some type of vector file format for embroidery use.

Write a tagline

Ideally, your tagline should be tailored so closely to your brand that competitors can’t substitute their names in it.

Start your tagline brainstorming process by noticing those you see every day on TV, in magazine ads and on the radio. Think about what you want your farm brand to communicate with its tagline. Start putting ideas on paper. Don’t worry about how silly some of the ideas might seem at first, just get them on paper and the right choice will emerge.

Launch a website

There’s no denying it—today’s farmer needs to be technologically savvy, and for most of us, an effective farm marketing plan includes having a website. A website is cost effective and reaches a wide number of customers. Whether you use your site as a static farm brochure to get your name out or actually sell products online, a website can help take your marketing to the next level without a huge investment.

Armed with the photos, text and guidance you provide, a web designer will work to incorporate these elements, along with your logo and tagline, to create a unified site that is consistent with the rest of your farm marketing efforts. Costs will vary depending on the complexity of your needs, whether you are selling products online, the completeness of the information you provide and subsequent revisions.

Join farm associations

Association membership can also be a cost-effective way to market your farm and its products. Membership fees are generally modest, and benefits include newsletter subscriptions and a printed and/or web-based listing in the association’s membership directory

Attend farm-related events

Be it festivals, farmers’ markets, seminars, demonstrations or farm open houses, events provide you with an excellent opportunity to market your products in a hands-on environment. Just as some buyers aren’t comfortable buying from catalogs, some of your customers are likely to want one-on-one contact with you and your products or animals before making a purchase decision.

Having a wide variety of products and presenting them well is important, too. Other events, like open farm days or demonstrations at the local fair can also drum up business for you. Contact your local paper and see if they’d be interested in covering what you’re doing to further increase your exposure.

Begin advertising

Display advertising in a glossy magazine might not be within your budget, but perhaps a small classified ad is. Show programs and newsletters can also provide cost-effective advertising opportunities. Keep in mind that you only have a limited amount of time to catch readers’ attention, so your headline should pique their interest and make them want to read on. Always be sure to include your farm name, your phone number and your website address in any advertising you do. If you have room, also include your logo and tagline.

Provide good customer service.

Many times the best marketing practice is also the cheapest to implement. This is never truer than in the marketing benefit of good customer service. Good customer service doesn’t cost any more to deliver than bad customer service, but bad customer service can literally cost you your business. Whether it is standing behind a sale, answering voicemail and email promptly, or handwriting a thank-you note to put in with an order, small efforts can make a big difference!

Establish a marketing budget and calendar

In your startup years, your farm marketing budget might be 5 to 10 percent of your gross sales figure, but as time goes on and word-of-mouth begins to work for you, your marketing budget might drop to 2 to 3 percent of gross sales. Creating a marketing budget and calendar for your marketing year is a good way to set goals and keep yourself on track.

If your farm business has a natural downtime (as many farms do), this is a great time to plan your marketing. You’ll have fewer distractions, less stress and will be able to come up with more creative ideas than when you’re in the height of your busy season. Marketing isn’t hard to do, it’s just easy to put off doing when it seems like a million tasks are more pressing.

Evaluate your success

The success of your farm marketing plan can be gauged in many different ways. Ask yourself these questions after you’ve given your newly implemented marketing plan time to work.

  • Did I retain more customers?
  • Did I get new customers?
  • Were my existing customers more satisfied?
  • Was my job easier and more fun?
  • Did I sell more?
  • Did I make a larger profit?
  • Did my farm products sell more quickly?
  • Are there some potential customers that might turn into sales in the coming year as a result of this year’s marketing?

After some time, as your farm business develops, you will without a doubt grow your marketing methods, be it sprucing up your product packaging, having handouts professionally printed, conveying official statements, or getting signage made for your farm store or show booth. There will always be a continuing stream of marketing possibilities to consider. Keep an open mind. In the event that there’s something you can’t legitimize fiscally today however think would be an awesome advertising thought, in a year your expanding deals may make it possible.

Also Read: Here Are The Things To Consider When Establishing Drip Irrigation In Your Farm

 

Posted on

Kenyan Avocados: Connecting to High-value Export Markets

Kenya is frequently cited as a “bright spot” in African agriculture. Conducive government policy, strong donor support and private-sector leadership have helped to create success stories in exports to the EU. Policy changes supporting this growth include the liberalization of the fertilizer market. Following the removal of price controls and subsidies, increased competition led to lower fertilizer end-prices, triggering a 14 percentage-point increase in adoption rates among smallholders. Today, agriculture amounts to half of Kenyan GDP and employs 75% of the Kenyan workforce. Kenyan policy-makers and agribusiness players continue to prioritize the growth of agricultural exports, both in green beans and other cash crops like avocados. be

Kenya is one of the world’s largest producers of avocados, with production of 200,000 tons in 2017.For comparison, the largest producer is Mexico with about 1 million tons produced annually. Local varieties dominate Kenyan production (about 70% of total), whereas Fuerte and Hass, the varieties suitable for export, make up approximately 20% and 10%, respectively.

 

Kenyan Avocado Export Supply Chain

 

An estimated 70% of Kenyan avocados – even those for export – are produced on smallholder farms. When not linked to exporters through an out-grower scheme, farmers market their avocados through middlemen, either legally government-certified agents or unofficial brokers. These middlemen typically harvest avocados themselves and organize transport to Nairobi packhorses. This initial leg of transport is usually done with small pickup trucks. Once at the factory, avocados are quality-checked, sorted, washed, waxed, pre-cooled and packed in cartons. Once packed, exporters stuff the cartons into refrigerated containers (“reefers”) outside the processing gate, and shipping companies then transport the reefers to the Mombasa port. There, the reefers, which are controlled-atmosphere-treated, are loaded onto a ship and later trans-shipped in Salalah, Oman. Finally, the reefer containers are unloaded in Europe and delivered to importers

Most often vertically integrated with exporters, packers procure and package a 4-kilogram (kg) carton of avocados at a cost of about US$ 4.10. An additional US$ 1.60/carton is required for shipping to Europe by sea in a reefer. With the import price fluctuating around US$ 7-8/carton, the supply chain overall is profitable. This situation was enabled by government-led infrastructure investments, followed by private-sector investment in reefers, which helped to reduce transport costs versus expensive air shipments. Once this tipping point of profitability was reached, investments started to naturally flow into the sector.

Impacts of Supply Chain Barriers and Potential Solutions

Successful initiatives to overcome supply chain barriers are presented, as well as some remaining opportunities to overcome challenges to future growth.

Transport and Communications Infrastructure

Mombasa is the pivotal port for East African countries and is accessed via the main corridor, the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. By the early 1990s, the quality of this road had deteriorated due to high traffic. The Kenyan government, with the help of the World Bank and the EU, decided to invest in rehabilitating the highway.  Investments were made over approximately a decade, ending in 2005. Travel time from Nairobi to Mombasa was reduced by 40%, from 12 to 7-8 hours, and costs decreased as well. Typically, road rehabilitation projects in East Africa drive operational cost reductions of 15%. Although this saving has a marginal impact on the Kenyan avocado industry – less than 1% of the European end price – the incremental benefit is applied to many different value chains. The overall benefit for Kenya and Kenyan agricultural export value chains is thereby important.

Also Read: how to grow peaches and nectrines

 

Introduction of reefer container technology has made Europe accessible for Kenyan avocados.

One of the major challenges previously faced by this industry was the lack of suitable transport equipment. If not cooled, avocados ripen faster than the time it takes to ship them to Europe. Exports to Europe, therefore, were only possible through expensive air shipments. Alternatively, transporting by sea was only feasible for the more proximate Middle East, where avocados sell for much less than in Europe.

Recognizing this opportunity, exporters first engaged temperature-controlled, break-bulk vessels to replace expensive air freight. They then approached A.P. Moller-Maersk to present the business case for refrigerated container transport. Shipping companies consider a number of factors when evaluating a value chain for reefer investment. Most importantly, they look at the economics and growth potential of the value chain. In this case, if Kenyan avocados were able to be sold profitably when transported by air, there was a clear case for investment in sea freight, provided quality could be maintained during the journey. In addition, key enablers must be in place to ensure sustainable operations. Fortunately, the Kenyan government had invested in the Mombasa port and was able to provide the necessary infrastructure (e.g. specific plugs, berth capacity) to support reefers. Continuous investments are being made to accompany the growth of reefers in the Mombasa port, including a new berth to open this year.

Read Also:Macadamia nuts farming: How to get most returns

Early packing of containers ensures an uninterrupted cold chain. When dealing with perishable produce, maintaining an uninterrupted cold chain is critical for food quality and safety. When reefers were first introduced, exporters preferred to transport avocados to Mombasa in regular trucks and pack the reefers at the port. Over time, exporters realized that they could command a price premium in EU markets if a cold chain was begun as close to the farm as possible. This price premium outweighed the costs of bringing an empty reefer to Nairobi and loading it at the pack house gate. This extended cold-chain-arrangement also simplified logistics by eliminating one touch-point at the port, and is now common practice.

For more information on how to become a better Hass Avocado Farmer, kindly visit our offices or contact us.