Avocados and Kenyas smallholder farmers

Exporting avocados to high-value European markets can boost the income of Kenya’s smallholder farmers by 39 percent, a new report says.

The finding is by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and its partners. 

Currently, Kenya  exports just about 10 percent of its avocado production compared to South Africa’s 60 per cent and Chile’s 55 per cent. 

Moreover, Kenya is the third largest producer of avocados, with about 70 per cent of the produce coming from small-scale farmers.

The export market is dominated by five major exporters. Namely, Kakuzi, Vegpro, Sunripe, Kenya Horticultural Exporters Limited and East Africa Growers Limited. They source most of their exports from smallholders.

Avocados and the smallholder’s success

Firstly, “International agricultural markets offer a higher price and also demand higher quality than the local market. Producing for international markets can boost the income of farmers,’’ said Dr Mulubrhan Amare. Dr Amare is a senior researcher at IFPRI and the lead author of the report.

Secondly, his is report, ‘The impact of the smallholder farmers’ participation in avocado export markets on the labour market, farm yields, sales prices and incomes in Kenya’’, deduces that the avocado export market holds the key to smallholders’ success.

Farmers survive at the hands of local brokers who exploit them as much as avocado prices have risen.

Ms Monicah Nyambura, an avocado farmer in Othaya Sub-County, Nyeri County had some words on the situation. “while the Hass variety offers good returns, we don’t control negotiating with the brokers at the farm. They mostly dictate the prices.” She said.

Meanwhile, insufficient capital, poor infrastructure and high labour costs are at a high. These are some of the factors stopping smallholders from directly selling their produce to the international markets. Avocado’s could heavily benefit Kenyas smallholder farmers, if these issues were mitigated.

The study recommends that any existing or new government programs should focus on increasing productive capacity. For exmple, access to seedlings and bulding technical knowledge can help with this.

Finally, find out more about Avocado’s in the market of Kenyas smallholders HERE!


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