Avocado farmers in Nakuru County are a happy lot after their first harvests found a ready and well-paying market.
They dared venture into the new farming during the 2015/2016 season, with some starting as early as 2013 and today, they are enjoying the rewards.
The group benefited from a flagship Hass Avocado farming programme spearheaded by the county government.
The farmers are busy gathering their first fruits, with some groups selling up to 4.2 tonnes per day to processors and exporters who have pitched tent, waiting to buy the product.
Mr Japheth Mutai started avocado farming in 2013 and says he and his neighbours are selling to the highest bidder.
“There are so many buyers who want the avocados but we are selling at the highest price,” he said.
“Since 2013, we have been selling a kilo at Ksh80 but now the price is between Ksh110 and Ksh120 per kilo.”
Currently, Sunripe Kenya Limited buys a kilo at Ksh110, or Ksh20 per fruit.
With farmers set to harvest at least three times a year, there is a bright future for avocado growers.
Protecting the farmer
To reduce exploitation by brokers, the county government of Nakuru is linking farmers to buyers and exporters offering the best prices.
The county is also encouraging them to form or join cooperatives to maximise sales and profits.
In the 2019/2020 financial year, the county allocated Ksh52 million to the avocado sub-sector, up from ksh42 million the previous financial year.
The target is to have at least 10,000 avocado farmers in the next five years.
The county has been distributing free avocado seedlings to farmers, with 40,000 seedlings given out last year.
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