It is common to spot rickety trucks in Karangi Village of Gatanga, Murang’a County, crisscrossing the chilly hamlet, picking up avocado fruits in the evenings to be transported to Nairobi ready for export.

On the dusty and bumpy feeder roads, it is hard to miss the rotting fruits usually rejected by the aggregators, due to immature harvesting or low quality standards.

And driving along the Thika-Sagana highway, which cuts across the county, avocado seedlings dot the road, and traders are making a killing selling the grafted Hass and Fuerte avocado varieties for Sh150 to Sh400 per piece. Business is booming, going by the number of stopovers travellers make at the nurseries.

Most (80%) of the acreage under avocado is planted with Fuerte followed by Hass, Pinkerton, Ettinger, Reed, Simmonds and Puebla (Mugambi, 2002).

The common rootstock cultivars are Fuerte and Puebla (Griesbach, 2005).

Most registered nurseries that propagate avocado in Rift Valley (31), Central (29) and Eastern (23) Provinces whereas Western, Nyanza, Coast and Nairobi Provinces have between 1 and 6 (HCDA, 2004; Griesbach, 2005).Most (80%) of the acreage under avocado is planted with Fuerte followed by Hass, Pinkerton, Ettinger, Reed, Simmonds and Puebla (Mugambi, 2002).

Several kilometres away in Kiamutiga Village, Tetu in Nyeri County, it is the same script, but with different players. Mr Jesse Mworia, of Forest Edge Nurseries, said business was good. Going by the trends across several counties, including Murang’a, Meru, Embu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Kiambu, Trans Nzoia, Kisii and new entrants Kakamega and Uasin Ngishu, an avocado revolution is happening.

This nutritionally complete fruit that is a treasure trove of essential vitamins and minerals, is literally on every farmer’s mind.

Even the populous maize growing Rift Valley has joined the bandwagon.

And stung by the avocado bug, many farmers are transitioning from subsistence farming to the high-value export market through contract farming. Murang’a County leads in avocado production, accounting for 57 per cent of what is produced by the counties. It produces mostly the Hass and Fuerte varieties. Hass takes 20 per cent, while Fuerte 80 per cent of the export market. Duke, Pueble and G6 are for the domestic market.

With benchmarking activities by newly entrant counties into avocado producing regions at its peak, avocado is poised to be the next “gold”. Smart Farmer Magazine recently caught up with the Deputy Governor of Uasin Gishu, Mr Daniel Chemno, and his team who had travelled to Murang’a on an avocado farming fact-finding mission.

“We want to change from being branded the food basket to the money basket due to this fruit,” said Mr Chemno. According to him, Uasin Gishu had an elaborate plan to turn around the fortunes of avocado farmers. The county has set aside about Ksh20 million to improve the status of the fruit.

 “We are currently working with contract farmers and large scale avocado producers to transform farming, which is undergoing a myriad of challenges,” he added.

The county is using extension services and whereas Western, Nyanza, Coast and Nairobi Provinces have between 1 and 6 (HCDA, 2004; Griesbach, 2005). Several kilometres away in Kiamutiga Village, Tetu in Nyeri County, it is the same script, but with different players. Mr Jesse Mworia, of Forest Edge Nurseries, said business was good.

Going by the trends across several counties, including Murang’a, Meru, Embu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Kiambu,Trans Nzoia, Kisii and new entrants Kakamega and Uasin Ngishu, an avocado revolution is happening.

This nutritionally complete fruit that is a treasure trove of essential vitamins and minerals, is literally on every farmer’s mind.

Even the populous maize growing Rift Valley has joined the bandwagon. And stung by the avocado bug, many farmers are transitioning from subsistence farming to the high-value export market through contract farming. Murang’a County leads in avocado production, accounting for 57 per cent of what is produced by the counties.

It produces mostly the Hass and Fuerte varieties. Hass takes 20 per cent, while Fuerte 80 per cent of the export market. Duke, Pueble and G6 are for the domestic market. With benchmarking activities by newly entrant counties into avocado producing regions at its peak, avocado is poised to be the next “gold”.

Smart Farmer Magazine recently caught up with the Deputy Governor of Uasin Gishu, Mr Daniel Chemno, and his team who had travelled to Murang’a on an avocado farming fact-finding mission. “We want to change from being branded the food basket to the money basket due to this fruit,” said Mr Chemno.

According to him, Uasin Gishu had an elaborate plan to turn around the fortunes of avocado farmers. The county has set aside about Ksh20 million to improve the status of the fruit.

“We are currently working with contract farmers and large scale avocado producers to transform farming, which is undergoing a myriad of challenges,” he added. The county is using extension services and public barazas to spread the gospel and allay fears among farmers. “In 2014, we started by producing seedlings.

Today, the ‘big avocado flame’ has landed in the Rift Valley, sweeping every farmer in its wake,” he said.

Nakuru County is angling for the lucrative Chinese market. It recently launched a campaign to revitalise avocado farming, hoping to tap into the market.

And to avoid exploitation by brokers, more farmers are signing contracts with private firms such as VegPro, Sunripe and Kakuzi Limited, which export the fruit to international markets.

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