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Why pomegranate fruit demand is on the rise in Kenya

Today if you go to any major supermarket in Kenya and head straight to fruits shelves, you will come across a fruit that is not common in our homesteads, “Pomegranate”. This is a fruit that has taken the whole world by storm. Slowly but steadily, pomegranates are attracting interest, now that consumers worldwide see the pomegranate as a “super fruit” due to its high nutritional value and health benefits. It has gone from being a fruit that is difficult to eat to a highly sought after super fruit. The major markets for pomegranate are Europe, the United States and Canada, followed by India, Malaysia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, among others. In these markets, the popularity of this fruit has re-surged in the last ten years and demand has increased, due to greater interest among consumers in purchasing healthy, nutritious products.

In addition to greater demand for pomegranates as fresh fruit, there is growing interest at the international level on the part of the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries in including pomegranate on their lists of ingredients because of its nutritional value, bright color, sweet and sour flavor, and health properties. This accounts for part of the great popularity these products are gaining on the market.

Due to the foregoing, growth expectations for the pomegranate market are encouraging, since the market is demanding – and is expected to continue to demand – an increasing amount of “super fruits” because of their health and beauty benefits, which pomegranates offer in abundance. The markets that now have good prospects for increasing their consumption of pomegranate, and thus represent an opportunity for both established and emerging exporters, are the European markets, especially Germany, and the United States.

Pomegranate is a red fruit with a tough outer layer. It is an original native of the Persian people and it is also one of the oldest known fruits. The fruit started to shine in the lime light of healthy fruits when it was discovered by scientists that it carried more health benefits compared to other fruits in its category. South Africa is a major producer of pomegranate in Africa. Kenyan small-scale farmers have also ventured in the business especially in Kisumu where they find it as a real savior in terms of economy. Pomegranate fruit trades for more than Ksh 100.

Although the fruit is fleshy, only the juice and seeds are edible. A glass of pomegranate juice is said to have more antioxidants than red wine, cranberries, green tea, and blueberries. The health benefits of pomegranates are innumerable and what makes them special is that apart from being healthy, pomegranates are delicious too. Pomegranates have anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and anti-tumor properties and are said to be a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, C, and E, as well as folic acid. This amazing fruit consists of three times as many antioxidants as both wine or green tea.

Also Read: How to Maximize Your Land by Planting Apricot Fruits in Kenya

WONDERING WHAT POMEGRANATES ARE GOOD FOR?

They are so useful in maintaining effective and healthy blood circulation, that several doctors suggest eating pomegranates to regain strength after a long illness. Pomegranates have been traditionally used for clearing up the skin and reducing inflammation as well as for the treatment of sore throats. Other health benefits include being a great cure for heart-related problems, stomach disorders, cancer, dental problems, osteoarthritis, anemia, and diabetes.

The amazing health benefits of pomegranates can be enjoyed by consuming them in several ways. You can take them in the form of a juice or you can eat the seeds, syrup, paste, nectar or concentrate. Pomegranate syrups are used for treating damaged cartilage and they also protect babies from brain damage incurred during birth.

Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates help our body in many ways from curing stomach problems to improving erectile dysfunctions and many more. Let us explore some more benefits in detail.

  • Cure Stomach Disorders – Pomegranate peel, bark, and leaves are used to calm stomach disorders or diarrhea caused by any kind of digestive problems. Drinking tea made from the leaves of these fruits also helps in curing digestive problems. Pomegranate juice is also used for reducing problems like dysentery and cholera.
  • Reduce Heart Problems – A regular intake of pomegranate juice can maintain a good flow of the blood in the body. Because of this property, it subsequently decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The antioxidant components in this fruit help to keep bad cholesterol from accumulating and thus, keep the arteries clear of any clots. These clots are clear because pomegranates can make blood thinner.
  • Prevent Cancer – Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids. These flavonoids are known to be effective in counteracting various cancer-causing free radicals. People that face a high risk of prostate and breast cancer should start drinking pomegranate juice, as it will help them reduce the risk of developing cancer. Regular consumption of pomegranates can reduce the PSA levels in the body and aid in the fight against existing cancer cells in the body.
  • Dental Care – Pomegranates, with their antibacterial and antiviral properties, help to reduce the effects of dental plaque and protect against various oral diseases.
  • Prevent Osteoarthritis – Pomegranates help to reduce many illnesses, including atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. The damages caused due to thickening and hardening of the arterial walls and in the cartilage and joints can be cured by eating these fruits. Also, pomegranates can prevent the creation of enzymes that are responsible for breaking down of connective tissues within the body.
  • Treat Anemia – Healthy blood flow can be maintained in the body by consuming these fruits. Pomegranates supply iron to the blood, thus helping to reduce symptoms of anemia, which are exhaustion, dizziness, weakness, and hearing loss.
  • Control Diabetes- For diabetic patients, drinking pomegranate juice can reduce the risk of various coronary diseases. Along with this, there is a reduction in the hardening of the arteries, which inhibits the development of various heart diseases.

Other Benefits

There are other benefits of eating this fruit as well, like reducing the possibility of having premature babies and avoiding low birth weight in infants.

Pomegranates also reduce the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease among older generations. They help to control aging problems like wrinkles as well, thus providing people with a youthful and glowing skin. Other than this, these juicy fruits can help women overcome depression symptoms during menstruation, especially post-menopausal depression.

Pomegranate seedlings will only cost you Ksh 300 but the returns are uncountable. Visit our offices or contact us today.

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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.