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Why You Should Buy Your Seedling From Certified Nursery Operators

nursery mkulima wa nyeri farm

The fruit tree nursery certification scheme implemented by the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture has been promoted to enhance the supply of high quality fruit tree planting materials and reduce the number of dubious seedling market players. Inquire if your seller is a certified nursery operator under KEPHIS.

With the extensive reforestation efforts by the public and private sectors to cope with increasing fruit demands and address shortages of timber supply in Kenya  there is a strong increased in demand for seedlings of fruit and timber tree species.

A major disadvantage of not being a certified nursery operator is the fact that those nursery operators are barred from bidding for county government procurement contracts. Nursery operators in Mt Kenya region have stated that accreditation has resulted in increased sales because they have been able to participate in county government contracts that procure fruit seedlings in mass quantities (especially hass avocados and macadamia). A major advantage in the accreditation process is the prioritization of accredited nurseries in the seedling procurement of the region.

Not Just for Money; Why you Must Plant an Avocado Tree

Mt Kenya Nursery operators states that the only disadvantage of being accredited is the pressure on maintaining quality standards. Buyers expect seedlings from accredited nurseries to be of superior health and the most suitable varieties. On the part of buyers this is advantageous because they are able to put pressure on the nursery operators to only produce and sell high quality planting materials. The advantages experienced by nursery operators and the pressures by private buyers on them as well as the governments’ policy to procure seedlings only from accredited nurseries are all factors that persuade the fruit tree nurseries to adhere to the nursery accreditation system.

Opportunities for Certified Nursery operators

Macadamia from Certified Nursery operator
Macadamia seedlings at Oxfarm

There are numerous opportunities for nursery operators who are accredited. One is the fact that their nurseries are posted and advertised by KEPHIS on their records which increases their reach to customers (government and private) who may want to buy seedlings from their nurseries.

Individuals and corporations who come to the KEPHIS for assistance on planting fruit trees are constantly referred to accredited fruit tree nurseries when seeking seedlings to buy, which also enhances the opportunities for accredited nurseries. Other opportunities such as scions and seedlings given for free or sold at minimal cost to nursery operators by government, were also given exclusively to accredited nursery operators.

keep bees if you want 100% production in Avocados

Views of Mt Kenya Nursery Operators

Mt Kenya Accredited nursery operators have the view that the government should enhance  the accreditation scheme through improving the market for their seedlings. One way to achieve this is through educating seedling buyers about the advantages of buying seedlings from accredited nurseries only because of quality assurance.

They also suggest that there be established a model nursery by government alongside KALRO that would promote learning and entice other nursery operators to join the accreditation scheme. Mr Dickson Kahuro, Mt Kenya nursery Operators chairman suggests that since they help in increasing forest cover and fighting non communicable diseases through fruit planting, there be increased support such as handing out planting materials, fertilizers and pesticides for free as ways to persuade nurseries to subject themselves for accreditation.

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The first Nyeri county workshop on hass avocado farming

hass avocado fruit

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
  • Bayer
  • Equity Group
  • Acre Africa