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7 Things To Consider Before Leasing Land for Farming

In Kenya, land is becoming scarce and one of the aspiring farmer’s greatest nightmare is accessing farming land at an affordable price. The prices have hiked and what young and new farmers are doing is scooping up land and renting it. Renting land minimizes risk and it’s the most affordable way of participating in food security and sustainability. However before getting yourself in this business of farming rented farm, here are some things you should consider.

Discover Your Market

Even those farmers who have their own land, its necessary to identify your market -that is , your very first potential customers. You need to first locate the markets where you will sell your products. These could be farmers markets, direct customer targets such as farm-to-table restaurants and independent groceries, or people traveling through the area where you hope to farm. Then search an ever-widening radius around that central market location until you find suitable land at the price you can afford. Before you start to farm, figure out where to rent

Land around Semi and Urban areas

Land in towns and cities seem to be scarce, however it is readily available. There these 50*100 plots in towns and with intensive farming techniques, this can be enough land to turn a modest profit with small crops that make the most efficient use of small spaces.

However, there is this land that is on the outskirts of suburbs before reaching cities and towns, semi-urban spaces are big enough with small acreage to hold an entire hobby farm. For beginners, less land can be more manageable than a rural farm. A semi-urban area might boast some city-like development, but land is available in larger tracts. Semi-urban sites can give your farm a rural feel, while retaining proximity to customers.

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Facts about Rural farming

In Kenya where white collar job is adored and few young people into farming, you will find that many current landowners and farmers are at retirement age and many find their children living in cities without the desire to return to farming. It’s in your best interest as a farmer to have your land used and to not see it fall into disrepair. Therefore, as an aspiring farmer you can always rent/lease land in rural areas.

A lot of Networking

A deceased farmer’s land might be held by a trust and left vacant by family members who have no interest in ever farming it. In Kenya, most ancestral land can’t be sold but only inherited and one can lease. This kind of farms that’s potentially available for long-term rent is often not advertised. The best tool for finding it is networking.

Ask for Help

One trait that most people don’t have is asking for help. Ask all of your friends and family for some land you can start with. The key is to get something started as soon as you can. Getting started on your own lawn or on borrowed land makes your business visible; creating opportunity to make your land needs known.

Online Marketing

The world has changed and only time will tell where it will take us. Even if you farm for fun,  your hobby farm basically doesn’t exist if it doesn’t have an online presence, especially if you’re planning to farm in the rural areas. Tell your story and share your food philosophy with a simple website or social media, to share the birth and evolution of your farm to gain support and excitement for your business. Use the results to gather market data and apply it to growing your business.

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Lease For Long

This will definitely be driven by a number of factors. Short-term leases or rentals are certainly an option, if it’s your only option. Short-term leases and rentals are least desirable for both the lessor and the lessee. Both offer flexibility but neither offers stability. Decades-long leases are common in rural areas, and they usually include scheduled intervals for revisiting the contract. A lease should be agreeable and beneficial to both farmer and landowner. Maintaining a respectful relationship should lend itself to revisiting the contract as issues arise.

If you are an aspiring farmer, we can help you get some land in the outcasts of major towns in Kenya and if you have land that you would like to lease contact us.

At Oxfarm Ag, farming is our passion and our business!

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Uhuru to Sign Hass Avocado deal In China Next Month

Uhuru to sign hass avocado deal with China

Avocado farming and especially the hass variety has taken shape in Kenya and our leaders have seen the opportunity and have been in the forefront in ensuring Kenyan farmers access better markets.

In this regard, President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to travel to China next month for the first Shanghai Import Expo. In  his visit, president Uhuru is expected to sign a deal for exportation of avocados, mangoes and cashew nuts.

On Thursday as he held Cabinet meeting, president Uhuru briefed his cabinet on his intentions. China is one of the recent countries to embrace hass avocado fruits, and being the most populated country, the demand is rising and if President Uhuru can secure a deal, then brighter days for hass avocado farmers are coming.

The President said he will lead a strong delegation of horticultural farmers and traders to China for the first Shanghai Import Expo. A number of trade deals will be negotiated and sealed, he said.

Among the deals the president is expected to seal is the Sanitary and Phytosanitary deal between Kenya and China. This will open doors for the exportation of more than 40 per cent of Kenya’s fresh produce to the expansive Chinese market.

President Uhuru in his statement said the agreement will also include exportation of stevia – a sweetener grown in the Rift Valley.

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Signing Of Hass Avocado and Other fruits Deal

During the Shanghai visit, the Head of State is also expected to sign an MoU for the establishment of a trade negotiation working group. It will be mandated to negotiate trade tariffs especially on Kenya’s tea and coffee exports to China.

On Tuesday 17th October, Uhuru banned Chinese fish, saying it is killing the local market. He spoke at the Strathmore University during the 2018 SMEs conference. “I have been told about the imported fish from China. It is not possible that we import Chinese fish when our local traders are here,” he said.

Uhuru attended the China-Africa Forum for Cooperation (FOCAC) 2018 Summit in August. He held bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping focusing on trade, infrastructure, investments, education and technology. The President witnessed the signing of an Economic and Investment Cooperation Agreement between China and Kenya. Uhuru’s delegation engaged in discussions on financing for Phase 2B of the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Kisumu.

The discussions also covered the financing for the Western Bypass in Nairobi. The talks also centred on Kenya’s shift from pure debt financing to embrace Private Public Partnerships.

China has remained the biggest lender to Kenyan economy with some quarters saying the loans might plunge the country into a debt trap. (courtesy of Star)

This is the biggest opportunity we have as a nation. Hass avocado farmers have a chance now to get the best prices for their fruits. Last year, Kakuzi Ltd an agricultural company bought hass avocado fruits from farmers at a record high of up to Ksh 35 per fruit. This year we expect the prices to go higher.

Contact us for quality certified seedlings.

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Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass avocado has continued to be number one success story in Kenya.

Both local and foreign investors have been putting up avocado factories in the country and have therefore improved prospects among local farmers.

Each year, more than 1500 avocado containers are shipped to Europe and the Middle East. New markets in Asia- specifically Russia and China are opening up opportunities for farmers and exporters, according to key industry players.

This has boosted the country’s profile as a top avocado producer among their other producing nations of Mexico, Chile, Peru and South Africa.

In recent years, the World Economic Forum has recognized Kenya’s avocado success story. Kenya has about 10000ha under the crop with more than 70 per cent of total avocado production coming from smallholder farmers. Increased investment by the county governments has come as a boon to many farmers who previously had to suffer low prices from ravenous brokers-fleecing farmers of their incomes. Contract farming has also encouraged farmers to improve their farming and replace old less productive trees with modern varieties.

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Diversification Through Hass Avocado Farming

Farmers and especially in central Kenya where land has been subdivided many times becoming too small for commercial purposes have been force to diversify their thin king and they have over the recent years adopted hass avocado farming and macadamia farming.

With an acre of land carrying 150 avocado trees, and a single tree producing over 1000 fruits on maturity each retailing at an average of Ksh 10, a farmer is assured of 1.5 million from a single acre.

Production usually starts two and a half years after planting. Hass avocado and Fuerte varieties are the most sought-after. The latter is said to be a good pollinator popular with exporters while the former is more popular in Europe.

Countries that buy avocados from Kenya include United Arab Emirates, the UK, Egypt, The Netherlands, France, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Spain, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong.

The government under CS Agriculture Mr Kiunjuri plans to expand to emerging markets such as Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

What are you waiting for, we have told you before and we will continue emphasizing that hass avocado farming is the way to go.

Contact us for more details.

 

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Farming Becomes Digital with oxfarm.co.ke

The world is changing at a very high rate and farmers shouldn’t be left behind. Agriculture is the key propeller of Kenyan Economy. With the current world population almost hitting 8 Billion, farming is no longer for personal consumption but a business; people must eat. There several factors that are making digital farming lucrative. Think of it this way, people must eat and as mentioned earlier the population is increasing due to improved medicines, low mortality rates. Another factor is lifestyle diseases, with inorganic food and working in offices all day, a bigger number is becoming sick and the only way is to eat organic healthy foods. No wonder organic farming is highly recommended and organic foods are the most expensive.

So, who can do digital farming?

Anybody can become a digital farmer, regardless of land size. It doesn’t matter the size of land that you have, whether you work in an office or self-employed. All what is required is change of perception and the right attitude. We at Oxfarm can sincerely assure you that you won’t go wrong if you do everything right in farming. However, we have realized that people are tied up in their jobs and careers and that is why we have come up with a helping hand where we can provide all the services required; i.e. from farm inputs, manure, farm machinery, labor, etc..

Although we major in tree fruit farming and export, we have highly trained agronomists such as Dickson (commonly known as Mkulima Wa Nyeri) where we can assist farmers with the necessary information about any kind of farming. At the comfort of your home, office or even your car you can login in into our website and order what you need. We are very responsive, and we always assist in the best way possible.

Many are times where you find that a customer has a chunk of land lying idle, but he doesn’t know what to do with it. He doesn’t know where to start, and not because of capital but merely because he doesn’t know where to start, doesn’t even know how farming is profitable.

Let’s take this example, Kenya has at least 45 million people. Assume that each consumes around ¼ kilo of maize flour every day (one meal-ugali/githeri) that translates to 11.5 tonnes a day of ugali which is equivalent to 11.5 tonnes of maize daily. Do you think Kenya will ever satisfy that demand? However, that’s just an assumption but close to what happens daily in terms of maize consumption. Now, do your own math and determine how many liters of milk is consumed daily, how many tons of Wheat flour, etc.. That tells you that demand for agricultural products will always rise as long as population increases.

Another factor still caused by population increase is sub-division of land, you find that our ancestral land has been subdivided in many parts of the country that it can’t be sub-divided any further. What happens is that people stop farming and only construct shelters…the question we beg to ask is, who feeds them?

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Oxfarm Products and Services

Following the examples, we have explained above, it has come to our attention that many people with land are the only option that Kenya has. We have therefore brought digital farming to you, whereby we will do almost everything for you (at a cost of course). Here are our services and packages. We also sell all farm inputs under one roof, making it easier for you. If you have ever thought of farming, anything, come to us.

Nowadays technology has improved almost everything and just with a smartphone, you can get everything wherever you are. Why not farming? Contact us and we will guide you and or market your products.

 

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Frequently Asked questions about Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass Avocado

Hass Avocado farming in Kenya is a topic that we all know it’s not going to end soon. Farmers and interested farmers have been asking us questions about hass avocado farming and the way to go about it. Well we are your eyes and ears, we will always give you information that will guide you in making those decisions that are difficult to make when it comes to farming. We are your partner when it comes to fruit farming and more specifically hass avocado farming. Here are some of your questions that we have tried to answer;

1.    Where do I get Hass Avocado Seedlings?

This is a question that is so common in Kenya. Over the past years, different companies as well as individuals have invested heavily in the business of selling seedlings. The main reason is because hass avocado fruit demand is rising day by day, hence the demand for seedlings. However, how can a farmer know whether the seedling is of hass variety and not fuerte or any other variety? Well I will tell you frankly that it is not simple, that’s why I would encourage farmers not to buy seedlings by the road side but rather consult and buy from certified groups. If you want genuine Hass Avocado seedlings buy here.

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2.    Where do I get Market for my Hass Avocado Fruits?

I will tell you in surety that, hass avocado market is overwhelming. If you interact with exporters such as Kakuzi you will learn that Kenyan hass avocado is loved and we can never satisfy the market even if we all planted avocado. Avocado is a fruit (healthy indeed) and as you might have learnt, due to many lifestyle diseases, people are urged to eat healthy. Our bodies requires fats but cholesterol free. Avocado fruit contain both vitamins and fats that are essential and healthy and are cholesterol free.

It is for the above reasons that you should not worry about market. Market will always be there, so get out there and plant an avocado today.

3.    Who are the main buyers of hass from farmers?

In this field, we have different players who buy directly from farmers. There are companies that buy avocado to process beauty products as well as oil. Others export the fruits just the way it is harvested from the farm. Therefore, there are as many buyers and exporters but just to mention a few, the biggest buyers are Kakuzi, Selina Wamucii, Olivado, Sasini, Mt Kenya Fresh Avocados e.t.c. What matters is quantity and quality, how many tonnes of hass can they get from you? How well have you taken care of them?

4.    What Do Exporters Expect From Hass Avocado Farmers?

Farmers must get it right when it comes to export. If you are planning on going commercial about hass avocado, you must get the right variety of seedlings and the requires fruit sizes. Export market requires quality produce. Export market demands for fruits of certain shapes and sizes. Buyers at the export market prefer size 12 fruits with dry matter content of 25%. In additional farmers should wait for the right time to pick the fruits and should never pick them before they are mature.

5.    Is My Area Suitable for Hass Avocado Farming?

Kenya is one of the few countries that enjoys equatorial climate. Most counties in Kenya receive a minimum of two rainy season. Avocados are highly adapted to different rainfall conditions; however, the rain should be an average of 1,000–1,600mm per annum and well-distributed throughout the year. Counties in central Kenya, Eastern, Central rift valley, Lower Nyanza and all western Kenya counties have the best climatic conditions for hass-Avocado cultivation. In Eastern Kenya, avocados do well in certain pockets such as Kang’undo, Mua Hills, Kathiani (Iveti hills), parts of Mbooni, all in Machakos County, and the high potential areas of the larger Embu and Meru counties. Other areas include; Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Bungoma, Transzoia, Nakuru, Uasingishu, Narok Bomet and some parts of Laikipia.

6.    Can I inter-crop Hass Avocados with other Crops?

As inter-cropping provides extra income, farmers can choose to have any kind of vegetable or pulse crops in the inter space. These crops may fix the nitrogen and suppress the weeds and increase the soil fertility. Only precaution should be taken care to grow the crops little far from an avocado plant. Therefore, Avocado orchards may be inter-cropped with other crops such as beans, peas, kale, or cabbage during the first 3-5 years to get economic returns from the land before the trees start bearing or produce economic returns.

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7.    How do I control pests and diseases in my avocado farm?

Biological pest control is by far the better option for avocado pests, as the incorrect use of agrochemicals on avocado trees could see minor pests develop into major economic risks. It is good to note that avocado orchards enjoy natural enemies (predators and parasites) that are able to maintain a biological balance. Cultural control is also effective depending on the level of infestation. When both the cultural and the biological control system are not working, selective use of chemical insecticides to control pests and diseases is necessary. This approach is referred to as IPM.

When you see diseases on the tree the damage is done. Early detection is a great plus. Anthracnose & collectrotrichum-On hass the symptoms will be seen as a bronzing, similar to mite damage on other crops, but has a small lesion and is described as “pepper spot”. These diseases are most likely to occur during the wet conditions. When the fruit is small, i.e. smaller than pegion egg size, it is not susceptible. Fruits bigger than this size is susceptible to infection at any time under favorable climatic conditions for the fungus.

8.    Should I Plant Two Different Varieties Of Avocados E.G Hass And Fuerte?

The type of avocado cultivars planted in an orchard will contribute to the expected yield. There are two types of avocado that flower at different times of the year (type A and type B). Mix both types in an orchard so that type A pollinates type B and vice visa. Hence cross pollination leads to higher yields than self-pollination. The presence of bee hives within the orchard is recommended as bees are the main pollinators of avocado. One should avoid applying chemicals that are harmful to bees.

9.    How Can I Avoid Flowers Abortion From My Hass Avocado Tree?

Avocado trees naturally experience a fairly large degree of fruit drop and there’s nothing you can or should do about this. Often, less than 1 percent of the avocado tree’s flowers will end up growing into mature fruit. Excellent cultural care practices during the flowering and fruiting stages helps to maintain an acceptable level of fruit drop.

 

 

 

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Hass Avocado Farming In Kenya From seedling to Export

hass avocado farming in Kenya

Hass avocado farming in Kenya offers a good opportunity for youth and farmers to venture into. The market, both local and export is growing day by day but its limited by the production capacity.

Demand projections for the consumption of Kenyan grown Hass avocado fruits locally and internationally is increasing due to its inherent characteristics and adherence to Organic production. This agri-enterprise is ideal for Kenyan farmers and buyers finds them at their growing regions. The cost of production is low as it requires less labour,it is a perennial crop, resistant to diseases and pest which gives Kenyan farmers comparative advantage and well placed for organically grown Hass avocado.

Most growers of avocado are found in former central region, Kisii, and parts of western. However, north rift regions are becoming a force in the latest trends, bearing in mind they possess large tracks of land. In the recent developments, Kenya has witnessed increase in the number of countries interested in Kenyan fruits, some of these countries include, Russia, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and many more. Leading exporters include Kakuzi Ltd, Selina Wamucii, Mt. Kenya Avacado Farms.

National government through agencies such as KEPHIS, HCDA and the like have been on the fore front in improving hass avocado farming in Kenya. Local governments on the other hand have also played a great role in enhancing hass avocado farming in Kenya, for example, Mwangi Wa Iria, Muranga County governor has been providing farmers with hass avocado seedlings and marketing their produce to various exporters ensuring they get value for their produce.

Today in Kenya more and more farmers are compelled to start growing improved avocado trees, which will triple the countries production rates for exportation. The big season for avocado has begun with an expected high rise in volumes of exported avocados.

Ecological Requirements for Hass Avocado Farming In Kenya

Hass avocado farming in Kenya does well in higher altitudes of between 1000m to 2000m. Howevor, the fruit is somehow bigger in cooler areas as compared to warm areas. It requires an optimum temperature of 20-24 degrees celcius. Avocado, grows in deep soils that are well drained to avoid root rot. Although avocados are fairly resistant to drought, thy require well distributed rainfall of between 1000-1200mm for proper crop development. The best soils are sandy or alluvial loam with a PH ranging from 5-7.

Planting Hass Avocado

Hass avocado farming in kenya is is grown from seeds, however, to ensure you have the right hass cultivar, grafting is done which increases resistance to diseases, improves yield and increases its adaptability to different soils. Growers found that grafting small stems onto the seedling of another type of avocado produces a tree that matures faster and bears far more fruit than one grown from a Hass seed.

Planting material must be inspected by qualified personnel to ensure they are free from diseases. In case of newly cleared land, it is advisable to plant an annual crop a year before growing avocados, in order to achieve a good tillage of the cleared land. If there are strong winds, ensure the necessary wind-breakers such as hedges are in place.

It is advisable to plant the trees in straight lines to facilitate crop husbandry and harvesting. In Kenya, the rectangular pattern of planting is preferred for hass avocados, as it eases movement of machinery in between rows as well as other activities such as inspection, thinning, and pruning. Tree spacing depends on several factors such as soil fertility and climatic conditions. Spacing may range from, 5m by 5m, 6m by 7m to 8m by 10m.

The planting holes should be 2 feet by 2 feet. Use about one bucket of farmyard manure properly mixed with top soil. Planting should be done after the onset of rains when rainwater has properly penetrated the soil. When filling up the holes, do not damage the roots. Irrigate the newly planted Hass avocado trees or seeds preferably until the first shoots appear. Tie the young plants to sticks to support them.

Pruning hass avocados

Pruning starts at the planting stage where roots that are too long and do not fit in the planting hole are reduced in size. During the early stages of growth, trees are trained in order to maintain a good framework. Pruning is also normally done before flowering and upon completion of harvesting. The general guideline is that the tree canopy height should be 70% of row width. This allows light to penetrate. Pruning improves yield and provides a superior tree structure.

Thinning is also done by removing some of the already formed fruits in order reduce competition for nutrients, therefore ensuring high-quality fruits. Too many fruits will result to small sized fruits. Ensure weed is controlled to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Some of the methods for weed control are mechanical cultivation, cover cropping, and mulching.

Pests and Diseases that affect hass Avocado farming in Kenya

The most efficient and economical method of pest and disease control is prevention. These preventive measures include weed control, proper selection of planting material, maintaining optimum plant density and proper fertilizer application.

Hass avocado farming in Kenya is not considerably affected by pests and rarely will pest control require a chemical application. However, some of the major pests attacking avocados include, False codling moth which is a brownish, night-flying moth, thrips, and Scale insects

Fungal diseases may also affect avocados and therefore need to be checked. They include;

  • Root rot – Also known as Phytophthora cinnamomi, it is mostly found in areas with poorly drained soils and flood prone areas. Some of the preventive measures include fungal and hot water treatment of seeds and grafting on phytophthora resistant rootstock. There are two chemicals registered to combat this disease i.e. Ridomil, active ingredient Metalaxyl, is a granular formulation which is applied in the soil, and works by killing the pathogen. Aliette, the second chemical is applied onto the leaves.
  • It’s also called Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. It attacks the fruits, forming dry, dark brown sports. It mostly attacks mature fruits. It is controlled using copper based fungicides as well as spraying with chemicals such as Benomyl, Mancozeb, Metiram, Propineb, Thiabendazole or Triforine.
  • Cercospora fruit spot or Pseudocercospora purpurea also affects the fruits leaving small, light yellow spots which eventually turn to a brownish color on leaves and fruits. It’s controlled using similar methods to Anthracnose.
  • It attacks fruits, twigs, and leaves. Lesions emerge as little dark spots a little raised and are oval or elongated. It’s controlled using similar methods to Anthracnose.

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Harvesting of hass avocados

Kenya Hass Avocados flowers at around October and are mature for picking between June to September. It is important to know how to identify the correct harvesting period because avocados are harvested raw and ripen off the tree. Harvest a few fruits and keep them in favourable conditions to ripen. If the fruits ripen evenly, they can be considered to have been mature. Careful picking of similar fruits from the trees can now commence.

Avocado is harvested between April and September in Kenya. Since most varieties do not change colour on maturity, a few fruits should be picked and stored at room temperature for 7-10 days. If they soften without shrivelling, then the fruit is ready for harvesting. Fruit should not be pulled from the stalk but be cut off leaving a 3-cm stalk.

Postharvest: The following treatment, processing and packaging methods should be used to prolong shelf life:

Pre-cooling -After harvesting, avocadoes must be cooled as quickly as possible to the optimum storage temperature of 5oC for Fuerte and Hass varieties; within 5 h of harvesting.

Hot Water Treatment -This treatment is used to kill fungal spores on and in the skin of the fruit. The avocadoes should be immersed in water heated to a temperature of 50°C for 3-5 min. Treatment of fruit using fungicides such as Bavistin (Carbendazim) and Sporta K Brochlura z improves the effectiveness of this treatment.

Grading And Packaging– Avocado fruits are graded according to size and weight. Injured and diseased fruits should be removed. The fruits are packed as per the orders and quality standards in 4 kg cartons after all debris, soil and foreign particles are removed using a water bath. This water must be changed periodically to avoid cross contamination. A fungicidial treatment (Thiabendazole) at 300 ml per 100 L of water is used. The fruits are waxed, and dried in hot air. Avocado fruits are stored in cold storage (5°C).

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Market – The most important factors ensuring successful marketing are quality, packaging, rapid adaptation of exports to seasonal fluctuations and changing market situations (supply and demand), an intact logistical chain (including proper cooling along the marketing chain and competitive prices).

Investors who plan on venturing in the hass export business must clearly target the specifit market segment if they want to reap the full benefits of avocado-production. The export market doesn’t start with buying the seedlings for planting. Fresh products export needs a long term plan of venturing into one of the most stringent markets ever, more so for those targeting the EU food market, which is strictest in the world.

 

Hass Avocado Seedlings

 

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Why you shouldn’t Worry about hass avocado Market

Hass avocado, the once an abundance fruit is slowly turning into a luxurious item. Would you have one day thought that an avocado could one day be so in fashion? What is affecting the fruit and making it so luxurious?

The truth is that even the already high prices are likely to spike. As of now, the prices are a record high and there seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel to the farmers. This is indeed something that has gotten most foodies worried. To purchase an avocado today you must pay twice of the thrice of what was the cost some months ago.

A few months ago in USA, there has been an uproar, particularly on the social media by hipster complaining about the scarcity and the high prices that the fruit has attracted. As usual, some may be arguing from the point of ignorance and coming up with many theories to explain their situations. With the launch of direct flights from Kenya to USA, hass avocado farming can only go higher.

One thing we must all agree is that the scarcity and high prices have everything with market forces. We know that high demand attracts high prices. This is what has been happening world over. There has been no withholding of the product, but the supply has gone extremely low from last years. From the economist perspective, there is nothing unusual about the current state of the hass avocado market. The situation is being informed by the various forces in the market. In fact, a close look at the situation shows that there have been two almost equal forces affecting this niche and thus the acute shortage and spike in price. These forces are the dwindling production and bulging consumers market.

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Decreasing Production of Hass Avocados in South American Countries

Let us take a look at the supply end and establish how it could have contributed to the current state. There are several factors that we can identify from the supply that has contributed to the shortage the market is experiencing. According to the release records, the production of the avocado in South America nations has been adversely affected by various factors since 2016. Countries such as Mexico which supplies almost a half of the international market had a very bad season from last years. Other countries such as Chile, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic and the United States among others also posted poor harvest.

Climate change can be said to have affected the production of the fruits. The extended droughts in some of the most productive parts of the world are causing a sharp decline in production. It is important to note that export from Mexico dropped by half last year according to Hass Avocado Board. Another factor that is contributing to the reduced supply is the number of farmers moving away from the crop. This is due to the high production costs. One of the key problems has been the amount of water that the avocado plant requires to bear fruit in a season.

Why not take this advantage as Kenyans and produce more hass avocados?

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Bulging Consumption Market of Hass Avocado

For over time now, the consumption market of hass avocado has been expanding at a very high rate. The fact that hass avocado can be used in many ways has made it very popular among larger population.  Apart from being a fruit, hass avocado has also been established to possess high medicinal value. These are just some of the factors that have contributed to its market expansion. Among the latest entrance into the avocado consumption market is China.

The entrance of Chinese in the consumption is believed to have destabilized the Europeans and the American markets. With its sheer size of the middle-class population, the demand for the avocado has shot to the roof. Note that Chinese middle class is more than 100 million and they’re the main consumer of avocado. What’s more interesting the price at which the item is selling in the Chinese market. It has been established that Chinese middle class is willing to pay more for the product. This demand can be explained by the increase in export to China by various countries such as Kenya. In short, China is a new and huge market that is opening up while the production of the item is stagnating or dwindling in major producing countries.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Start an Agribusiness in Kenya Today

Although China is thinking of producing their own avocado, Kenya stands a better chance due to its good climatic conditions. We should all take this advantage and plant more hass avocados. The market is there, let no body lie to you that it’s a scheme. Avocado is a fruit that is so loved both locally and abroad.

 

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Some of the best fruits to grow in Kenya

The world loves fruits. Fruit farming is a great contributor of our economy, contributing to the food basket. Below are few of the fruits that you can grow both for home consumption or for commercial purposes.

Banana Farming in Kenya

In Kenya, bananas are favorite fruits among many families. It is almost impossible to find a home that doesn’t grow bananas. In some parts like Kisii and Nyamira, it’s almost a main dish. Bananas should be grown in rich soil with plenty of water, shade and support, as their trunks tend to bend. There are different types of bananas in Kenya; hybrid and local.  A banana tree takes about 9 months to grow, and bananas meant for commercial purposes are harvested before ripening to reduce damage and loss during transportation.

Apple Farming in Kenya

There are two major types of apples grown in Kenya, the green one and the red ones. Apples grow best in full sunlight away from wind, in wet loamy or sandy soil. From the time it’s grown, an apple tree can take an average 2 – 4 or 2 – 6 years to bear fruit and can live for 100 years or more.

Read: Get Over Ksh 700,000 from an acre of Hybrid onions in Kenya

Mango Farming in Kenya

Mangoes are succulent fruits grown in places with plenty of sun and water. There are different types of mangoes grown in Kenya. One should do research to know which mangoes will grow best in the area they are in. A mango tree can take 3 – 5 years to mature and bear fruit if grafted and upto 8 years if not grafted. Like bananas, mangoes are harvested before they are ripe reduce damage and loss during transportation. Learn more about mango farming here

Orange Farming in Kenya

Oranges are very popular in the Kenyan market. They are found everywhere; in markets, supermarkets, kiosks and the likes. There are different types of oranges, some of them may not be too sweet. Identifying the type of orange tree is not a difficult task though. The sweetest oranges have a deep orange skin. Oranges take about 3 years to grow and produce fruit if grafted, if not, they may take up to 15 years! They, just like pineapples, require high temperatures to produce sweet fruit. Learn more about Orange farming in kenya here

Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass avocado at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

In kenya, hass avocado farming is picking momentum. Avocados are widely used in Kenyan homes. They are used as baby feed, mashed and mixed in food (some people cannot stand this), or used as dessert in homes and hotels as well. There are quite a number of avocado types grown all over the country. Avocados take about 3 years to grow and bear fruit. They grow best in warm weather. They must be harvested before they ripen in order to reduce wastage during transportation. Learn more about hass avocado farming here

Read: How to achieve success in a given agribusiness venture

Pawpaw Farming in Kenya

Pawapaw farming is very sensitive but pawpaw are always in demand in kenya. Unlike other sweet fruits, pawpaws are extremely sensitive to sunlight which can kill them. They need plenty of shade during their first year of growing. A grafted paw paw tree can start bearing fruit in 2 -3 years, while a non-grafted tree can take up to eight years! This of course depends on the quality of the seeds used. Learn more about pawpaw farming here

 

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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

 

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Hass-avocado Farming: Suitable Counties in Kenya

Hass Avocado is the new goldmine for modern farmers. Ever thought why county governments are insisting on Hass-Avocado farming?

Most of you must by now know that many county governments are encouraging farmers to plant avocados. This is so because hass-avocado does not require much labor and time to maintain. In addition, demand for avocado is extremely high and we just can’t satisfy the current local demand and in  European countries.

Before the market was regulated, farmers used to sell a fruit for as low as Sh1. Now they sell one for Sh8. Hass-avocado exporters sell the fruit for as high as KSh 30. Just last year farmers in Murang’a county earned Sh500 million from hass-avocados according to Governor Mwangi Wa-Iria. Hass avocado investment is bigger than coffee. One properly watered tree of hass avocado can give you 1,000 fruits a year, which comes to Sh8,000.

Avocados’ nutritional health benefit is also a factor that is boosting its demand. People around the world have the knowledge on its health benefits and wide variety of its uses. Guacamole food, with avocado as its main ingredient is very popular especially in America, greatly increases avocado consumption and importation

Related Content: Lucrative Passion-Fruit Farming In Kenya

Which are the Suitable Counties that Hass-Avocado Be Planted in Kenya?

Hass-Avocado treeKenya is one of the few countries that enjoys equatorial climate. Most counties in Kenya receive a minimum of two rainy season. Avocados are highly adapted to different rainfall conditions; however, the rain should be an average of 1,000–1,600mm per annum and well-distributed throughout the year.

Irrigation is essential where rainfall is not adequate. Although an avocado tree cannot tolerate wet soil, it needs at least 25mm of water every week during periods of insufficient rainfall such as in eastern Kenya.

Too much rain during flowering leads to shedding of flowers resulting in significant reduction in production. Fungal diseases also normally become problematic in very wet weather. A short period of dry weather of up to two months usually triggers flowering especially in tropical climates not subject to marked falls in temperature. The avocado tree needs high relative humidity at flowering (70-80 per cent), then moderate levels during the fruit swelling stage. Too much humidity encourages the proliferation of pests and diseases such as thrips, scales, cercospora spot, scab and anthracnose.

Counties in central Kenya, Eastern, Central rift valley, Lower Nyanza and all western Kenya counties have the best climatic conditions for hass-Avocado cultivation. In Eastern Kenya, avocadoes do well in certain pockets such as Kang’undo, Mua Hills, Kathiani (Iveti hills), parts of Mbooni, all in Machakos County, and the high potential areas of the larger Embu and Meru counties.

Hass-Avocado Market

In Kenya, avocado is one of the most consumed fruits that is readily available in the market all year round. Going by the latest HCDA statistics, avocado has a fair share among the leading export crops and Kenya stands out as a major player in the avocado export market. Locally avocado is sold at the market place from between Kshs10 to KSh 50 depending on the size and quality. Avocado trees are very productive and can fruit all year round. At maximum production, a single mature tree can produce 70 to 100 kg of fruits per year. Kenya has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of countries interested in Kenya avocados, these counties are, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain, Iran, Libya, and Egypt among others