- Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri during a visit to Kiambu county in June distributed more than 6000 avocado tree seedlings to farmers
Farmers in Kiambu county have concluded a one week training on how to grow avocados for export in respect to the expected boom after Kenya and China got into a trade agreement for the supply of avocados.
The farmers speaking in Kiambu town on Wednesday said that growing of avocados has not been done professionally and it is a major opportunity for farmers to reap big.
“In Kiambu we never take avocado seriously it is just a fruit to accompany our staple food that is githeri and here we have gotten an opportunity to grow it for financial gains,” said Felister Mumbi a farmer in Limuru subcounty.
The farmers were awarded with certificates of completion of the training which is a requirement by the Global G.A.P certification opening them door to the European market.
The Kenya national chambers of commerce and Industry (KNCCI) entered into contract with a consortium of Institutions to Produce, Finance and Market Avocado products from farmers it has engaged for this project.
Kiambu branch KNCCI chief executive officer Daniel Miano said, there exists a large International market for high quality avocado products that is impossible to satisfy with the current avocado production in Kenya.
“We are targeting over 5,000 farmers with half an acre and above and we will be targeting 31 counties with the soil topography that supports avocado since there is already a market overseas,”said Miano.
Miano said that the farmers before they planted they had to undergo training first as there were requirements to be met and also sign a contract with the buyer.
According Mofarm Company limited a horticultural firm whom has agreed to buy the avocados from the farmers directly said that they will provide officers to the farmers to show them how to plant apply fertilizers for the three years and also will help farmers harvest.
“The contract we have entered with the farmers to grow hush variety of avocado is that as accompany we will be involved from day one of planting until harvest time and we will also buy other crops for export which will be intercropped with the avocado,” said Lilian Muthoni marketer Mofarm.
During the seminar, farmers were trained on the best Agricultural practices for Avocado production where Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture an Technology in Conjunction with Zetech University was to give Technical and research services, while Equity Bank would give financial support by offering loans to farmers, while KEPHIS would give quality seed advice while several other institutions were to seek certification of individual avocado farms that have been registered with this agreement.
Zetech University dean school of business Professor Peter Kibas who took the farmers in training, said that farmers require to be educated on best practices so that there will be no failure in farming avocado.
Kibas said that the involvement of the university is to provide information to farmers and ensure that the issue of value addition is key in the whole process. Farmers will be trained on proper packaging, post-harvest handling among other practices in order to reduce the losses.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri during a visit to Kiambu county in June distributed more than 6000 avocado tree seedlings to farmers.
Chief executive officer export promotion council Peter Biwott however said that last year Kenya earned Sh78 billion out of exporting avocado. Kenya also imports avocados from Rwanda to meet the local export.