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Did you know where the Avocado fruits originate from?

The avocado (persea Americana) is believed to have originated in south-central Mexico between 7000-5000 Bc, it’s a member of the flowering plant family lauraceae. Avocado fruit is a large berry containing a single large seed, the trees are partially self- pollinating and are often propagated through grafting to ensure fruit quality and quantity.

Avocados are cultivated in tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean climates of many countries, with Mexico being the leading producer of avocados, supplying 32% of the world total. Evidence suggests that there are three separate domesticated avocado landraces in the world.

  • Mexican landrace
  • Guatemalan landrace
  • West Indian landrace

The Mexican and Guatemalan landraces originated in the highlands of those countries, west Indian landrace on the other hand, is a lowland variety that ranges from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador to Peru.

In Kenya, avocado is an important commercial fruit for both local and export markets. The fruit is high nutritious, rich in proteins and cholesterol free. It’s a source of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. It is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and D.

1.2 Varieties of avocado grown in Kenya

Over 40 varieties of avocadoes are grown in Kenya, with HASS and FUERTE varieties being popular. Hass is the main export variety and Fuertes is preferred for processing. Other commercial varieties are Pinkerton, reed, Puebla, endranol, Gwen, wurtz, nabal, hazard, sharwil and Shepard

  • Hass is the most popular variety in the world. The mother tree of all Hass avocados was born in a backyard in La Habra Heights, California in 1920s, and later patented by Rudolph Hass in 1935.
  • Hass avocado trees are upright with high vigour, meaning they grow tall and require cutting back. Hass are predominantly Guatemalan and flowers are type A.
  • Leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
  • Fruits are oval in shape with small to medium seed.
  • Fruit skin turn from green to purplish-black when mature and black when ripe.
  • Skin thickness is medium and easy peeling
  • Fruit surface is pebbly and fruit has a great taste
  • Hass has a flesh recovery of 70%
  • Mature fruits weigh between 180-350g
  • Maturity is mid-season to late season
  • Hass fruit got an outstanding shelf-life and good shipping characteristics
  • It has one of the longest harvesting seasons

Fuertes

  • Fuertes is among the major varieties in export market.
  • The tree is broad and can grow very high, Fuertes are predominantly Mexican and flowers are type B.
  • Leaves produce strong aniseed smell when crushed, and red flecking wood of new shoots.
  • Fuertes is very productive, with pear shaped fruits with noticeable flat area on bottom corner.
  • Fruit has a smooth thin green skin which remains green when fruits are mature and ripe.
  • Creamy, pale green flesh, with flesh recovery of 77%
  • Fruit weight 140-425g
  • Fuertes mature early

Pinkerton

  • Pinkertons are semi-dwarf tree with medium height and are predominantly Guatemalan with flower type A.
  • Leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed, neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
  • Fruits are long, pear-shaped with small seed. Under cool conditions, the fruit can develop long neck.
  • Fruit are large and can weigh 225-510g
  • Fruit skin is of medium thickness, green with slight pebbling and excellent peeling
  • Skin colour is green which deepens as the fruit ripens
  • Creamy, pale green flesh with flesh recovery of 82%
  • Maturity is mid-season

Reed

  • Reed trees are semi-weeping column shape of medium shape; it belongs to Guatemalan race and has flower type A.
  • Leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
  • Reed is a round fruit with medium seed
  • Skin colour is green even after the fruit is mature and ripe
  • Skin is of medium-thickness and of easy peeling
  • Fruit is medium to large size with weight of 225-510g
  • Creamy flesh with good taste and flesh recovery of 72%
  • It matures very late

Edranol

  • Edranol trees are compact, medium size, Guatemalan race with flower type B.
  • Leaves are dark green in color and do not produce aniseed smell when crushed, neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
  • Fruit are pear shaped and dark green when ripe
  • Fruit skin is thick and relatively smooth
  • Flesh recovery of 77%
  • Fruit weigh between 320-470g
  • Maturity is mid-season