KENGAP Consult Ltd, a horticultural and consultancy company is set to train avocado farmers on production, record keeping, pest and disease management, harvest and post-harvest handling and global market standards at a time when the European Union has released strict standards on agricultural imports.
The firm will conduct the national avocado training and exhibition on 21st and 22nd June 2018 at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization in Thika, Kiambu County.
“Many smallholder farmers in the country lack substantial knowledge on how to grow and ensure they adhere to standards on pesticide application and best agronomy practices and as such we are seeking to bridge this gap through the training,” said Janet Njogu, the event’s organizer officer at KENGAP Consult.
According to the ministry of agriculture, a large proportion of farmers in Kenya (more than 50 per cent) have limited access to agricultural training, information and cutting edge technologies.
Where the innovation opportunities are available, affordability remains a constraint. Further, agriculture is not an examinable subject in primary school therefore creating a lack of interest amongst students and teachers. Low exposure to practical skills and limited opportunities in internships and mentorships also contribute to lack of skills.
Hass avocado variety.
On 21st June, farmers will basically be trained on the procedures of growing avocados to achieve high yields. Farmers will also learn on export processes and regulations needed before exporting produce.
On the second day, the exhibition will be held and farmers will learn of the various avocado varieties such as Hass and Fuerte which are on high demand in the international markets such as China driven by the middle class population that is craving for healthy eating habits.
China is one of the world’s largest buyers of avocados having imported 32,100 tonnes of the crop in 2017 up from 32.4 tonnes in 2011.
The company was started in 2006 in a mission to help farmers export their produce to international markets such as the European Union.
Kenya produces an estimated 115,000 metric tonnes of avocados annually, 70 per cent of which is grown by smallholder farmers.
In Africa, Kenya is the second largest exporter of avocados after South Africa.
Kenya’s dried avocado export has been rising, with the country selling 46.7 tons to the international market in 2016.
The figure was higher by 7.8 tons than what was exported in 2015. Kenya earned Sh6.5bn and Sh5.2bn in 2016 and 2015 respectively, according to the Kenya national bureau of Statistics economic survey report.
Interested farmers can contact Janet Njogu on 0723 491 549 0r 0722 406 941.