• Avocado farmers should add value to their exports to China instead of lamenting about the stringent measures, according to the Export Processing Zone chief executive Peter Biwott.
• He said that the opportunity created shows that Kenya can invest in appropriate machines and start peeling the avocado, process and sell in the supermarkets locally regionally and internationally.
Avocado farmers should add value to their exports to China instead of lamenting about the stringent measures, according to the Export Processing Zone chief executive Peter Biwott.
At a meeting with avocado farmers in Kiambu on Tuesday, Biwiott said that the deal that requires farmers to install machines and coolers for peeling and freezing the fruit before it is exported should be taken positively and seen as a business opportunity.
“Actually the Chinese have helped us and given us a wakeup call that we need to add value to our avocado, we do not need to export it fresh. This is a business opportunity we are marketing to business entrepreneurs that they need to invest in value addition plants,” said Biwott.
He said that the opportunity created shows that Kenya can invest in appropriate machines and start peeling the avocado, process and sell in the supermarkets locally regionally and internationally.
Biwott added that last year Kenya earned Sh78 billion out of exporting avocado. Kenya also imports avocados from Rwanda to meet thelocal export demands.
“Kenya is number one exporter of avocado in the African continent and number eight in the world and we have an opportunity to scale it up to be top three as we have very good environment, land and we can be able to grow and we do not need to export dry and fresh avocado,” said Biwott
In the event organized by Elite Professional Consortium, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Dan Miano said they are now focusing on training and giving seedlings to farmers who have one acre land parcels to improve the crop profitability and production.
“We want to turn farmers to entrepreneurs, we are doing a pilot programme here in Kiambu county of planting avocados which will also be rolled out in other 31 counties which have been mapped out to grow the avocados," said Miano.
He said farmers should grow the hass variety that takes upto two and a half years to produce fruits.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri during a visit to Kiambu last Friday distributed more than 6000 avocado tree seedlings to farmers.
He said said that the government has started a liming programme to reduce the level of soil acidity in the area.
“Farmers have had a challenge as the soil has become too acidic and is unable to hold fertiliser hence the crops are not doing well and the government has started a liming programme which will help restore the soil,” said Kiunjuri.
He called upon farmers to embrace planting the grafted avocado tree which has been tested and has a lot of yield and will help farmers befit financially.