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AFA to partner with county governments in boosting avocado farming

The  Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) will embark on strategies aimed at boosting avocado farming across the country.

The authority will partner with county governments in providing needed technical know-how and advice towards increase of avocado production.

The Vice Chairman of Council of Governors, Mwangi wa Iria said they had invited officers from AFA to educate members of the public on how to venture into avocado farming, noting that the fruits had a big market potential.

Returns from avocados, Mwangi said, are much higher compared with other fruits advising maize farmers to diversify their ways of farming and embrace avocado.

The Murang’a Governor regretted incidents where farmers from North Rift counties are protesting against advice of diversification of farming for better returns.

In majority of sub counties within Murang’a County, farmers have embraced avocado farmers and some have been linked to internal buyers.

The county government, Mwangi noted will continue supporting avocado farming by providing free seedlings to farmers.

“In this year, my administration will distribute more than a million seedlings to farmers to plant during expected long rains,” he noted on Wednesday during a press conference.

Avocado farming in Murang’a County has proved to be profitable with the governor, saying farmers from other counties have booked to visit the county to benchmark on avocado.

In 2014, avocado farmers in the county were put into a cooperative society to help in marketing of the fruits.

Some multinational companies entered into partnership with the Sacco so as to buy avocadoes from the members at better prices.

Mwangi said many counties have climatic conditions needed to grow avocado noting AFA will help in training farmers on how to farm the crop.

The  AFA Interim Director, Antony Mureithi highlighted that there were 7,500 acres of land in the country put under avocado farming, saying they are focusing on how to increase production so as to meet the demand.

In 2017, the country produced 81,000 metric tonnes of the avocadoes, thus the need for partnership with counties to increase land under farming of the fruits for better returns to farmers.

In Kenya, he said, 70 percent of avocado is produced by small scale farmers with earning made in 2016 was Sh.6.5 billion up from the previous year of Sh.5.2 billion.

“In the Africa continent, Kenya is the second producer of avocado after South Africa. And our avocadoes are marketable in the international market,” he added.

He continued “Avocado is a fruit with high returns, thus the need to encourage farmers to diversify. Price of the commodity has been improving since 2013.”

By  Bernard  Munyao

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