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Kisii farmers increase avocado incomes through grafting

Farmers in Kisii have increased their avocado incomes from six shillings using non-grafted seedlings to between nine and ten shillings per fruit after planting grafted Hass avocado variety.

“With the grafted seedlings, farmers are able to obtain quick fruiting in their plants. The flowers and fruits produced by a graft are of superior quality as compared to the original variety,” said Alphonse Obino, the Head Manager, Aberdare Technogies Limited, Kisii branch. The company specializes in production of grafted seedlings.

Grafted Hass avocadoes mature six months earlier at one and half years than the normal seedlings which mature at two years. They also have high oil content hence suitable for export. Hass avocado variety is on demand in the international markets and commands more than 70 per cent market share.

Grafting is the artificial, vegetative method of plant propagation. A grafted plant, therefore, is a composite of parts derived from two or more plants. It is one of the methods used to improve crop yields, increase resistance to diseases and boost tolerance to harsh weather among other desirable characteristics.

Four years ago, Daniel Nyamweya, a Kisii based farmer earned an average of Sh35,000 to Sh40,000 from his quarter an acre avocado farm which he planted normal non-grafted varieties.

“Currently, my income has doubled to Sh83,000 after I planted 20 trees of grafted Hass varieties which I bought at Sh100 each,” said Nyamweya.

Nyamweya sells his produce within the neighborhood and also to brokers who come to the farm to purchase directly.

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Bernard Kimutai hass avocado seedling

Benard Kimutai of Fair Trade Enterprises Limited holding grafted hass avocado seedling. With him are some farmers during Meru National Avocado Conference and Exhibition at Meru National Plolytechnic on Friday, 6th  April 2018. Photo: Zablon Oyugi 

Benard Kimutai of Fair Trade Enterprises Limited holding grafted hass avocado seedling. 

In 2017 Kenya has overtook South Africa as the largest exporter of avocados in Africa. The country exported 51, 507 tons of avocados in 2017 against South Africa’s 43, 492 tons according to statistics by the International Trade Center.

Kenya exports avocados to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and more recently, the Russian Federation.

The UAE tops the list with some 12, 041 tons for the 2017 timeline. The second, third, and sixth major export markets for Kenya avocados are all in Europe. The Netherlands leads the pack with 10, 556 tons of the fruit from the 2017 statistics. France is the third biggest importer: its net volume stood at 10, 423 tons in the same year. Saudi Arabia is the country’s fourth importer with some 4, 874 tons worth of imports in 2017.

The Russian Federation currently holds the 5th position in trade volumes that have culminated at 4,171 tons in 2017.

The United Kingdom and Spain close the top 7 with volumes that verged on 2,944 and 1,734 tons respectively in 2017.

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