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How Can Kenya Boost Agricultural Productivity?

How to boost productivity

Many countries have successfully developed after shifting resources from agriculture to manufacturing. Countries in East Asia and the Pacific witnessed a revolution in the 90’s but Kenya and Africa in general missed out and has overtime lacked progress in agricultural productivity which can be blamed for holding back the region’s overall economic growth.

So what can be done to boost Kenyan agricultural productivity? below are eight factors that are drawn from transforming Kenya’s agriculture to improve competitiveness.

Grow High-yield Crops

Kenya requires increased research into plant breeding, taking into consideration the unique Kenyan soils. If money is put in good use in this segment, according to world bank, 1ksh is capable of yielding Ksh 6 in terms of benefits.

Improve Irrigation

With the growing effects of climate change on weather patterns, more irrigation will be needed. Average yields in irrigated farms are 90% higher than those of nearby rain-fed farms.

Increase the use of Organic fertilizers

As soil fertility deteriorates, organic fertilizer use must increase. Governments need to ensure the right type of fertilizers are available at the right price, and at the right times. Fertilizer education lessens the environmental impact and an analysis of such training programs in East Africa found they boosted average incomes by 61%.

Enhance Regulations, Market Access and Governance

Improving rural infrastructure such as roads is crucial to raising productivity through reductions in shipping costs and the loss of perishable produce. Meanwhile, providing better incentives to farmers, including reductions in food subsidies, could raise agricultural output by nearly 5%. In recent times Kenyan government has had a tussle with maize farmers where the government insisted on buying a 90 Kg bag of maize at Ksh 2300 but the farmers wanted more. Eventually the government increased the amount up to Ksh 2500. Such fights with farmers will only deteriorate and make things worse as farmers will get tired of farming if the market is harsh for them.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Use of IT

Information technology can support better crop, fertilizer and pesticide selection. It also improves land and water management, provides access to weather information, and connects farmers to sources of credit. Simply giving farmers information about crop prices in different markets has increased their bargaining power.

Reform land ownership

Africa has the highest area of arable uncultivated land in the world (202 million hectares) yet most farms occupy less than 2 hectares. This results from poor land governance and ownership. Land reform has had mixed results on the African continent but changes that clearly define property rights, ensure the security of land tenure, and enable land to be used as collateral will be necessary if many African nations are to realize potential productivity gains. In Pastoralists counties such as Kajiado and Narok, land is owned by communities but recently some individuals have been grabbing it and making it theirs with no development. government should come up with policies that can help the common man.

Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Intensify integration into Agricultural Value Chains

Driven partly by the growth of international supermarket chains, Kenyan economy has progressively diversified from traditional cash crops into fruits, vegetables, fish, and flowers. However, lack of access to finance and poor infrastructure have slowed progress. Government support, crucial to coordinate the integration of smallholder farmers into larger cooperatives and groups, may be needed in other areas that aid integration with wider markets.

If the government, NGO’s, all agriculture stakeholders come together and do the above, we might reap as a country and as a continent. At Oxfarm we have been educating the public on the best farming methods and how to access the market, we expect the government to provide a fair and a good working environment for farmers.

 

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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.

Different Types Of Poultry Farming And Their Products

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.