• Already a market for the hass avocado has been found in China and Mauritius.
• Governor Wa Iria says the fruit will transform the lives of area residents.
The hass avocado will be Murang’a's cash cow when the 1,000,000 free seedlings being provided to farmers mature.
Already, earnings from the fruit have overtaken those of traditional cash crops like tea and coffee in the area. Last year, 40,000 avocado farmers earned Sh2.5 billion.
The county government is giving 500,000 hass avocados seedlings this planting season. A similar number will be distributed by October this year.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria launched the free avocado seedlings programme on Wednesday at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a town. He said each of the 150,000 registered farmers will get four seedlings which, on maturity, will be fetching at least Sh160,000 per year.
A mature hass avocado tree produces more than 6,000 fruits per year.
The governor said over 400,000 seedlings had been distributed since 2013. Many are already bearing fruits. Local processing companies pay a minimum of Sh10 per fruit to contract farmers.
The governor promised to procure trucks to deliver the fruits from collection centres to the market.
But farmers must join cooperative societies to benefit from contract farming and better prices.
Wa Iria commended President Uhuru Kenyatta for getting international markets for hass avocadoes. The markets include Mauritius and China.
The President secured the market in the two countries last April.
Murang’a is the largest avocado producer in the country, accounting to about 60 per cent of all fruits produced locally.
“We want to front the President as our chief marketer. What he is doing will provide an expanded market that will give farmers a surety as they tend to their trees,” the governor told the eager beneficiaries.
He urged farmers to practise organic farming as importers paid more for produce grown using organic fertilisers.