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Hass Avocado farmers reap big in Muranga

This year hass avocado farmers have shared Sh20 million as their annual bonus following direct contact with a processor. Through negotiations by the Muranga county government and multi-national Kakuzi Ltd, 3,000 farmers drawn from 60 co-operative societies delivered their quality fruits for processing.

In the past three years, avocado farmers have been benefiting with annual bonus from the processors depending on production, quality and size of the fruits. In 2014, the farmers, after they complained of exploitation by middlemen, made Governor Mwangi wa Iria to scout for a market before settling on Kakuzi and other players.

On Friday, 8th December Governor Wa-Iria witnessed the Kakuzi assistant general manager Paul Mbugua declaring the annual bonus to thousands of farmers drawn from four counties in the region. Quality fruits in the negotiated contract, the company buys a four-kilo carton of quality fruits at Sh420.  According to Mr. Mbugua, this year, production of avocado remained low due to prolonged drought that led to better payment in the international market. Payment is made to farmers a week after delivery at the factory in Makuyu. Farmers should employ strategies to increase production to supply the growing market locally and internationally.

Read Also: The benefits of certified fruit seedlings

Viability

Avocado fruit business is growing rapidly in Kenya with small-scale farmers reaping profits from this investment. It is viable with benefit-cost ratio>1 and affordable initial capital requirements. 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 labor, it is a perennial crop, resistant to diseases and pest which gives Kenyan farmers comparative advantage and well placed for organically grown Hass avocado.

The governor lauded the achievement following partnership between his administration and Kakuzi that has benefited the small-scale farmers who had been exploited by middlemen. Before 2013, our farmers were greatly exploited by brokers who bought an avocado at one shilling but presently they are reaping better payment.  Wa-Iria said that his administration will not entertain brokers who had been a threat.

As an agricultural organization, we work to enhance diverse seed access to our farming communities. For more information Contact our offices.

 

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AVOCADO EXPORT FLOURISHING IN KENYA

Kenya is known to support its budget through agriculture majoring on exports of tea, coffee, flowers. However, Hass avocado is now getting a lot of attention. Kenya is in an ideal location for Avocado production since it’s in subtropical climates and avocados do well in such conditions.

South Africa and Kenya are major exporters of Avocados in Africa, with hass, fuerte, and pinkerton varieties. There is a countless potential for hass avocado production in Kenya due to its climatic conditions especially in central Kenya, upper eastern and rift-valley areas. Most avocado farms are near Nairobi, where packing factories are located for export.

Main avocado seasons for the Kenyan avocados is march to September but the fuerte one starts as early as February while the Hass is normally available from May. Nonetheless, due to the difference in climatic conditions and different avocado growing zones in Kenya, there are fruits throughout the year although in smaller quantities which are mainly sold locally.

Also, Kenya enjoys a competitive advantage over other exporting nations mainly because the hass avocado variety harvesting period extends later in the year than Peru’s, thereby granting Kenya a window of opportunity in the global market. Hass avocados from Kenya sell in European markets at roughly three times their domestic price, making the export options extremely very attractive.

 

Also Read: Hass avocado farming: Suitable Counties

More than 115,000 metric tons of avocado are produced in Kenya annually, where 70% are normally grown by small-scale farmers. Sometimes back, most avocados were traded locally, however, this trend has tremendously changed over time where now over three quarters of the produced avocados is exported overseas.

This drastic change can be attributed to technological advancements called `reefer` introduced by Maersk lines has made it possible to transport Kenyan avocados beyond the middle east to Europe markets.

Most farmers who grow Avocado are commonly found in Muranga, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kisii, Meru as well as Mt. Kenya regions. Over the years, Kenya has seen a sharp increase in the number of counties interested in Kenyan Avocados, and these countries are, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Egypt, Spain, Iran, Libya and many more. Leading exporters from Kenya include Mt. Kenya Avocado Farms.

The nutritional benefits of avocado are another boosting factor to its demand. All over the world people knows about its benefits and the 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.

Muranga county government through its Governor Mwangi Wa-Iria has started an initiative of encouraging its residents to embrace farming of hass avocados as a way of eradicating poverty as well as boosting their health. The national government of Kenya has also initiated programs that help in boosting the avocado industry to fully comply with the global requirements. Bodies like KEPHIS are actively involved in monitoring as well as educating farmers and exporters. In addition, other county governments are also helping farmers get good market rather than struggle with brokers who offer them low prices.

As you read this article today, more and more farmers are compelled to start growing Grafted hass avocados, which will triple the country’s production rates for exportation. The sky is not the limit for our esteemed farmers. The future belongs to you farmer who is willing to make your hand dirty!

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Why Grafted Hass Avocado Is Gaining Popularity in Kenya

There is a group of farmers within Muranga County who believe that the Hass avocado is now Kenyan number one variety and that in tonnage it is destined to eventually exceed all other varieties including the Fuerte. This group points out that the Hass season compliments the Fuerte season making possible a two-variety coverage of the year as in the orange industry. Its paramount appeal to the grower for its heavy and precocious production. This fact coupled with its excellent eating and shipping quality, long season and medium size make it a profitable fruit for the entire Avocado industry.

The Hass is gaining acceptance in a wide area, possibly being suited to all avocado counties. This makes the Fuerte the “runner up” to the HASS for top rating and unless some new yet undeveloped variety hass made a spectacular rise the and it will eventually command the largest tonnage in the Kenya avocado industry.

GRAFTED AVOCADO DEMAND FOR SEEDLINGS

Hass trees are vigorous growers and easy to propagate. Trees top worked are usually very upright in growth like the parent tree but nursery trees range from moderately upright to spreading with most of them forming a rather well-balanced head. Close planting of the Hass has produced rather slender trees and some growers have considered this variety an upright tree to be planted as close as 6M by 6M apart.

This procedure has produced very heavy tonnage per acre at a surprising early age but it is undoubtedly true that these groves will have to be thinned. On deep soils, at least 7M spacing would seem to be required for mature trees. The Grafted Hass is very precocious, top worked trees usually bearing the first year and nursery trees by two years. It is quite impressive to produce so much fruit so soon and it is understandable the great grower interest that is developing around this variety. In some Counties growers are turning from the Fuerte to the Hass because of its much greater production in their localities. Although some Hass trees bear regularly there is a marked tendency with most trees to over bear one year and recuperate the next with a light crop. Unlike the old furte variety these trees will not kill themselves by continued over production. This alternation of production is usually a simple one of very heavy crops every other year. To the degree that the Hass overbears one year it will under bear the next. Occasionally trees will bear a terrific crop and will not even bloom the next year.

The Hass bloom is usually moderate in amount and comes later than the Fuerte with shorter duration. Unlike the Fuerte a healthy Hass tree limits the crop by the amount of the bloom. The flowers seem to all set and after a normal thinning retain a good crop commensurate with the amount of bloom.

GRAFTED HASS AVOCADOS SEASONS

The Hass has the longest season of any known avocado and has been demonstrated to be edible throughout most of the year. As a back-yard tree, its season is probably from March to November but commercially from May to October at in Kenya. At present, it fills the gap between the Fuerte and the other varieties bringing high prices at this time. When it is in greater supply its commercial limits will have to be determined.

GRAFTED AVOCADO MARKET

From the market standpoint, the Hass would appear to have everything. Excellent quality, popular size, small seed, good shipper, its leathery skin and long season complimenting the Fuerte. The Hass variety gives satisfaction and repeat business follows. This variety has been put to the top by Kakuzi farmers and has numbered among its members the pioneer growers of this variety and have had more experience with marketing it to date. The report says that it has consistently returned more than any other avocado. Its small size is very popular and as it comes on the market early it beats competition to a great extent.

 

For more information, visit our offices or contact Oxfarm Organic Limited Experts.

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COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES IN AVOCADO

HASS AVOCADOS

COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES IN AVOCADO
• 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.

a) MOSQUITO BUGS (Helopeltis schountedeni) – stainers
a. THE ADULT MOSQUITO BUG:
• Feeds early in the morning hours, late afternoon and at night. They fly quite fast and thus have a potential to affect many fruits.
b. THE NYMPH MOSQUITO BUG:
• They don’t fly and they only affect few fruits that are within their reach.
NB: THIS IS THE BEST STAGE TO CONTROL.
• To make decision on control method, we monitor for the two stages of the pest and for fruit damage.

b) FRUIT FLIES
• The female lays its eggs under the rind of an avocado fruit.
• Careful monitoring using pheromone traps is critical to establish population levels when to control and the efficacy of control measures taken.
CONTROL:
• Both natural and chemical methods are used.
• For chemical control, we bait. We use a protein bait as an attractant mixed with a chemical as the poison. Spays are to continue until the trapped number reach 0 and sprayed at low volumes.
• For cultural control method, the key thing is sanitation. Fruits fallen to the ground are also collected and disposed. Routine eradication of alternative hosts like guavas is also done.

c) FALSE CODLING MOTH (FCM)
• It is a major phytosanitary threat.
• When eggs laid on the surface of the fruit hatch, the caterpilars bore into the fruit, rendering it undesirable for consumption and leaving the fruit vulnerable to plant diseases and rot.
• Fruits may also ripen and drop from the trees prematurely. The resulting fruit loss and damage could potentially result in millions in economic losses. The fruit is prone to secondary infections.

d) SYSTATES WEEVILS
• Adult and systate weevil damage.
• Notched (uneven) feeding on the leaves is a classic sign of feeding by adults.
• This is significant on young trees and not big trees.
• The pest hide in the leaves, mulch and soil.
• Control is difficult because of their behavior. Cultural method of control is practiced. If pressure persist, chemical control is done.
• The timing of spray is critical.

DISEASES
• 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.
• Control with copper.

ROOT ROT MANAGEMENT.
i. Soil Selection
 Well drained and aerated.
 NB ridging/moulding.
ii. Resistant/Tolerant Rootstocks
 ‘Dusa’, ‘Duke 7’, ‘Bounty’
 Disease free nursery trees.
iii. Irrigation Management
 Beware of over-irrigation in sick trees
 Use of micro-jet or drip irrigation for better control.
iv. Chemical Control
 Young trees use Alliete paint.
 Mature trees inject with Phosphorous acid.

For more information on hass avocado management contact us or visit our offices at Hermes House Nairobi Tom Mboya street opp K.T.D.A