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Good news for Kenyan farmers as global avocado prices double on high demand

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The price of a standard box of 48 avocados in the international markets has risen from $37.25 (Sh3725) to $83.75 (Sh8375) over the last one year according to the American Restaurant Association. The rise is driven by high demand of the crop due to the health benefits.

In 2017, The Netherlands for instance imported 900,186 tonnes of avocados up from 820,775 tonnes in 2016. France on the other hand imported 145,813 tonnes up from 95,000 tonnes in 2016. The United Kingdom imported 383,736 tonnes in 2017 four times more than what it imported 17 years ago while China imported 32,100 tonnes up from 25,128 tonnes in 2016 and just 32 tonnes in 2011 an increase of over 1000 times.

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Kenyan farmers thus have a high chance of exporting the produce and earn more income from the crop. The country is currently the sixth largest exporter of the fruit in the world ranking behind Peru, Mexico, Dominican Republic, USA and South Africa in the international avocado export market.

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 from avocado exports respectively, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Currently, the the Kenya Avocado Society is in a fresh drive to recruit farmers to plant Hass avocado variety to meet the demand.

“We are recruiting farmers all over the country to plant avocados in a five year investment plan that is set to earn farmers more income than maize for instance while at the same time increasing forest cover in the currently from the current 6.2 per cent to 10 per cent,” said Meshack Kamau, the sales and marketing officer at the Kenya Avocado Society.

To join the society one has to pay an annual subscription fee of Sh1000 and will get seedlings at a subsidized price.

“We sell avocado seedlings to members at Sh200 compared Sh300 for non-members,” said Kamau.

According to the society, a farmer can plant 100 trees in a one acre piece of land.

In this, one tree can yield between 600 to 800 fruits per season meaning a farmer can harvest between 60,000 and 80,000 fruits per acre in two and half years’ time.

With each fruit retailing at an average of Sh50 a farmer can thus earn between three and four million shillings per acre per season.

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