By George Munene
Kakuzi PLC will be providing farmers with free maturity testing services to avocado farmers over the main harvesting period running through August of this year.
This is in an effort at empowering smallholder farmers to access the lucrative but often highly regulated global avocado markets.
Although Kenya’s avocado exports were marked at 72,000 tons in 2020, a 59,000-ton increase from the previous year, small-holder farmers are often locked out of the fruit’s global market due to non-compliance. One of the main culprits for this according to the country’s Horticultural Crops Directorate was premature harvesting.
The free fruit maturity testing services will be provided at the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management Systems certified Kakuzi Avocado Processing and Packhouse facility located near Makuyu town, along the Nairobi-Nyeri highway.
“We are encouraging Hass variety avocado farmers to consider taking advantage of the free fruit maturity testing services at the Kakuzi facility to minimize losses that accrue from the premature harvesting of this precious fruit,” said Kakuzi PLC’s Executive Head, Mr Simon Odhiambo. Speaking when he confirmed the initiative, he added, “The testing service will also serve to enhance quality assurance for all export-grade fruits, to enable Kenya to grow its international reputation.”
At the certified Kakuzi Avocado Packhouse, farmers will receive detailed pre-harvest reports on quality and maturity against their fruit samples. By extending the free fruit maturity testing services, Kakuzi seeks to empower smallholder farmers to access the often lucrative, albeit out of reach overseas avocado market.
This is part of Kakuzi’s avocado smallholder program aimed at the economic empowerment of small-scale avocado farmers by sharing skills and knowledge on avocado growing and overall good agronomic practices.