Nyeri county held a workshop on 16th Jan 2019 to shed more light on the status of Avocado farming. The workshop attended by various stakeholders on avocado value chain and also various farmers group leaders who engage on avocado farming from various sub counties in Nyeri County.
Business Innovation Facilities (BIF)
The organizers of the event Business Innovation Facilities (BIF) have been in forefront ensuring that there is market linkage between farmers and marketers/exporters of hass avocado. The project that only started in 2018 has so far been a success. The moderator of the workshop Mr. Peter Mwangi said that there is a need to have a market system approach in dealing with hass avocado farming where the farmer should look at what the market requires and tailor those needs in the production. This involves improving quality and quantity.
Farmers being the core of the workshop were given time to give more insights as to their expectation for the workshop and what needed to be addressed.
Department of Agriculture Nyeri County
Mr Macharia from Nyeri County horticultural department briefed the attendances the status of hass avocado in Nyeri County. Avocado grows in all Nyeri sub counties apart from Kieni which is a bit drier and the farmer is required to have alternate irrigation methods unlike other areas.
During the last long-rain season the county government bought approximate 81,000 seedling for the farmers and are planning to buy more during the coming rainy season on April. The number of hectare covered by avocado has been increasing in Nyeri county.
- 2013- 213 Ha
- 2017- 277Ha
- 2018 – 1106 Ha
- Expected: 2019 – 1900 Ha
Nyeri County government is very strict when it comes to hass avocado seedlings. Suppliers have to have fulfilled all the requirements before supplying to them. In a matter of fact one must produce HCD and KEPHIS certification prior to being given supply tender.
Message from FPC Kenya CEO
Otepat okisegere, is the CEO of fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya), a leading trade association committed to driving the growth and success of fresh produce companies and their partners. He talked in length about the quality assurance and market access and about the regulation of the market. A key note, he spoke about his own concern about why the kenyan produce if fetching half value of what the global market is getting.
The market for hass avocado is closed until first march 2019 while that of fuerte goes up to 1st Feb. 2019. He noted that there is no need in demonizing brokers since they are part of value chain. Small scale farmers should have organized groups for them to be able to handle brokers in an organized way. According to him, the biggest challenge that we will have in three years is not the number of the fruits but the quality of hass avocado fruits. In his argument, this should be checked and regulation imposed especially on planting materials.
Young people have a key role to play in avocado farming; he said from nursery, planting, pruning, harvesting as well as various training to farmers youth have various opportunities they can tap.
He urged marketers and farmers when they enter into contract its obligation of both parties to adhere to the agreements.
The market requires quality consistency and variety. He also added that this year there will be a decline in production by 60% from last year.
Department of chief officer agriculture Nyeri county
Mr Kanyi, representing department of chief officer agriculture Nyeri county welcomed the attendee with emphasis of carrying agriculture as a business. “Ensure there is quality, quantity as well as value addition’ said Mr. kanyi.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)
Madam Lucy, representing Kephis Nyeri, Laikipia and Muranga emphasized on ensuring avocado fruits are mature when picked. She also emphasized on the need to carry out pest risk analysis for various farms to ensure our farms are safe. Even export of fresh fruits must be certified by KEPHIS and given a certificate for clearance. KEPHIS has enrolled in a program to train and nature youth on nursery management in various areas.
Horticulture Crop Directorate (HCD)
Horticulture Crop Directorate (HCD) represented by Mr. Amedeo emphasizing the remarks that there is need to motivate both marketers and farmers to adhere to the set rules and regulations for safety and sustainability of hass avocado business. He acknowledged the presence of an association of all certified nursery operators within Mt Kenya by the name Mt Kenya Nursery and Orchards Operators Association (NOOA) where he also serves as their patron
Some of the stakeholders available included during the workshop were:
- Jungle nut
- Clofts Limited
- Keitt Complex
- Equity Group
- Acre Africa