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    By George Munene

    On just a 50x100 piece of leased land in Ruiru along the Eastern Bypass, Charles Macharia, more commonly known as Macharia Wa Hay, keeps chicken, ornamental birds, stored hay, and his prized 30 goats. 

    From them, he milks 18 liters daily retailing at Sh200 a liter. Being in a peri-urban area he says has given him a leg up on his competition as the milk he produces isn't enough to satisfy his demanding clients.   

    The former dairy farmer, who keeps another 100 goats in Mûkûrwe'inî, Nyeri County, from which he gets another 70 liters daily, explained that he made a conscious effort last year to harness the sprouting demand for goat milk which is prized for its numerous health benefits and fetches a premium, especially around Nairobi and its environs.

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    The milk from his goats in Ruiru is sold to households in his neighborhood while most of the 70 liters go to a cheese-making boutique eatery in Westlands.

    “I pivoted from dairy to goats in 2015. This is because they are less intensive and cheaper to rear. The market for goat milk is also undersupplied,” said Macharia.

    Also a hay wholesaler, he never lacks fodder for his goats. However, this need not deter any potential farmer because the maximum amount of dry matter they can consume in a day is three kilograms.

    This is supplemented by about 500 grams of concentrate for the top producers (4/5 kg).

    Related News: Vet soars in goat milk sales by cracking marketing and logistics

    “I stick to dry matter feed; hay, lucerne, silage with pollard, soya, and maize germ as concentrates,” he illuminated.

    The breeds of goats in his herd include the Toggenburg, British Alpine, German Alpine, Saanen, French Alpine and Kenya Alpine. This he sells as weaned, served and unserved doelings for between Sh8,000 and Sh20,000.


    Macharia Wa Hay: 0722587140

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    Extra Virgin Avocado Oil 1 of 1 2

    By George Munene

    The retail price of one liter of cooking has risen to over Sh350, an almost 50 per cent jump from last year. Incredulously, avocadoes-- a rich source of natural cooking oil are rotting on farms across Kenya. 

    This has pushed farmers such as Japhet Kabesa in Vihiga County to look into processing avocadoes into cooking oil.

    “For years we’ve been lamenting about a lack of market for our fruits, the bulk of which rot on our farms while we continue paying ever-rising prices for cooking oil.

    We have collectivised as a group of 300 farmers with over 2,000 trees and are looking into setting up an avocado cooking oil business which we hope will arrest this,” said Japhet on the phone with Farmbiz looking for an avocado oil extractor".

    Though it's a novel product, given it is natural and will be relatively affordable, he has no doubt it is something people will eventually embrace.

    Nasirembe Wanjala, an agricultural engineer in charge of agricultural mechanisation at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Katimani, explains that since the rise in international demand for palm oil has seen Malaysia--Kenya’s largest palm oil exporter-- restrict exports his phone has not stopped ringing with inquiries on avocado oil extractor machines.

    Related News: Chinese traders plan on increasing Kenyan avocado imports

    ”KALRO used to research on manual oil extractors which had to be discontinued because they were labour intensive, not easily portable, and costly to fabricate. Through a (PPP) public-private partnership arrangement we train and fabricate individual components of the electric oil expeller with artisans in Machakos,” he said.

    With this machine, farmers can press 15 to 20 liters an hour depending on the quality and source of raw material as well as the expertise of the machine operator.

    On average, four kilos of avocado yield one liter of oil, but this again hinges on the raw material. Avocadoes growing in areas with abundant rains such as Kisii and Muranga have more moisture content and will require about three kilograms while those cultivated in more arid regions such as Machakos or Makueni may require seven kilograms to yield one litre of oil. 

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                                       Electric oil extractor

    The electric oil extractor can process virgin oil which is made from fresh avocado and preheated oil, extracted from ripened and dried avocadoes. 

    The avocado is first cut and fed into a hopper. It is then picked by an auger and pulverised in a compression chamber. From there the oil is released and the cake remains extruded. Depending on its intended use, the avocado oil is then sieved for dirt or suspension. 

    The waste can be used as biomass for biogas, making soaps, cosmetics, window pane putty, and many other products.

    If it is meant for consumption, the oil may need to be purified before oxidizing.

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    Other value addition processes such as water separation, filtration, centrifugal separation, stilling, and distillation can further be employed.

    The machine runs on a single-phase two-horsepower motor. It is also fitted with a spiral auger mechanism that ensures continuous feeding.

    Nasirembe points out that the electrical oil extractor is now priced at Sh75,000 but its price shifts depending on the cost of materials such as the stainless material, gearbox, and motor.

    “There is currently no standard price for avocado oil; depending on the raw materials used, and method of extraction it can cost anywhere from Sh200 to Sh400 a liter. Virgin oil is more expensive as it’s costlier to make,” he added.

    Nasirembe Wanjala, KALRO: 0733812953

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    img 3 8d5079a4 d29b 4b28 be8f c86264a77dd7

    By George Munene

    According to China's Director-General of the Department of African Affairs, Wu Peng, the first batch of Kenyan avocados arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday with Chinese importers showing strong interest in their high quality and plan to import on a bigger scale. 

    The arrival of the inaugural shipment of Hass variety avocado from Sunripe Kenya follows China’s clearing of 15 Kenyan firms to export fresh avocados. 

    Since 2019, Kenya had only been allowed to import frozen avocados owing to the prevalence of fruit flies in the country.

    Kakuzi PLC also shipped its first batch of avocado to China this weekend 

    The Kenyan government expects China’s million-dollar avocado market to import 40 per cent of Kenya’s avocados, making it the largest overseas market for the fruit.

    Related News: Kakuzi banks on macadamia & blueberries as avocado business falters

    Related News: Horticulture directorate revises avocado export harvesting requirements

    The avocado is one of the fastest-growing fruits in China. In 2010, China imported only 2 tons of avocado. By 2020, China imported 36,000 metric tons. This is expected to increase over five times to about 196,000 metric tons by 2028.

    China has mainly imported avocados from Chile, Mexico, and Peru.

    "In this trial phase, we intend to test the entire system capacity and fix any challenges between ourselves, the phytosanitary protocols facility, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) ahead of the planned larger shipments before the end of the next quarter," read part of a statement by Kakuzi’s Managing Director Chris Flowers.

    Related News: Hass avocado earn farmers premium in international markets

    The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) early this week confirmed that the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) had approved 15 orchards, 9 packhouses, and one fumigation facility to export fresh avocado to China.

    "Currently, the Chinese market is relatively small compared to the European market. We hope that by exposing the discerning Chinese consumer to high-quality fruit from Kenya, that market will outpace the current exports into Europe," Flowers said. Adding that "the potential to grow the Chinese market demand is huge; if we maintain the highest quality standards for our exports."

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