From far, the farm resembles a splendid rain forest with evenly spaced trees growing in straight lines. As one approaches Maina’s farm, one cannot fail to notice dozens of hass avocado fruits hanging loosely from lush-green trees.
What made you venture into Hass avocado farming?
“There are dozens of ripe fruits in the farm and I will be harvesting in the next few days,” Maina Karuiru says happily. Karuiru started practicing avocado farming in 2006 on his farm located in Mathira, Nyeri County. He started avocado farming when the coffee industry became shaky and barely bringing any profits.
“I am happy that I shifted from coffee to Hass avocado farming. Most of my colleagues who stuck to coffee have faced numerous challenges as the once-lucrative industry declines.”
The farmer recalls couple of years ago when coffee farming was a lucrative venture. “In the 1980s, coffee prices were relatively high, and we used to make good money. Unfortunately, there has been a significant drop of coffee prices in the international market. Considering the maintenance costs for the crop, coffee farmers are barely making significant profits.”
Karuiru uprooted 500 coffee trees to make room for the avocado trees. This was his first step to shift from coffee to avocado farming, a move that was not supported by his neighbors. At first, Karuiru started with 100 trees and increased the number to 222 in the second year. Currently, he has 322 avocado trees that are evenly spread on a three-acre farm.
Compared to coffee, avocado farming is a profitable venture and the trees require little maintenance.
“Previously, when I was doing coffee farming, 500 coffee bushes earned me Sh 41,000. Last season, I earned Sh 37,000 from 7 avocado trees, which is the reason why I uprooted the coffee bushes.”
Karuiru has two varieties in his three-acre farm; Fuerte mainly for the local market and hass avocado mainly for export. He targets the European market and exports most of his produce to European countries.
When should you plant Hass Avocado?
“Seedlings should be planted at the beginning of the rainy season. Trees require a lot of water especially when after planting. They should well-spaced, with a spacing of about 7 by 7metres. Poor spacing makes the canopies to overlap and causes a significant drop in the yields.”
Do you use manure during planting?
For better growth, the holes should be filled with 5kgs of manure during planting. DAP fertilizer can be added later to boost the growth of the trees. Karuiru prefers goat droppings for manure. Compared to cow dung, goat droppings decompose faster.
Which variety do you have in plenty?
On his farm, Karuiru has the hass avocado variety in plenty. “The demand of Hass avocados is high both in the local and international market, and fetches good prices,” the farmer says. In the export market, one Hass avocado fruit goes for an average of sh10 and even higher. Europe, especially Holland, Germany, France and U.K, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and China offer the market for avocados. Karuiru mainly exports his fruits to Holland and France but he is eyeing the Chinese market also.
Avocados fetch him more than Sh 600,000 every season. “With the high profits from avocado farming, I cannot go back to coffee,” he says. To produce more fruits in the next season, Karuiru prunes his trees after harvesting. He also keeps bees to boost pollination.
Where to buy seedlings
Karuiru advises farmers to be careful when buying seedlings, especially when buying from roadside nurseries. Poor quality seedlings mean poor production of the trees and low yields. Farmers should buy seedlings from certified nurseries. Oxfarm LTD offers high-quality seedlings. Unlike other sellers, Oxfarm offers agronomical support to farmers to ensure that they employ proper farming techniques and also help them get market for their produce.
(Article Courtesy of Nation Media- Seeds of Gold)For the All type of Fruit tree seedlings We at oxfarm we do propagate and sell quality certified seedlings to farmers at the best prices for each seedling as above. We also assist in establishment of orchards and for all types of fruit trees. In order to learn more visit our demo farm at ridge ways Kiambu road or in Nyeri. Contact 0706222888 To get directions Call/Text/ WhatsApp us on 0706222888