A dealer in horticultural produce has signed a contract with avocado farmers in Murang’a County to help in marketing their produce.
The dealer, Afrifresh Company Ltd will buy avocadoes from farmers in Gaturi Ward at competitive prices, giving hope to hundreds of farmers who have been struggling to sell the fruits.
The farmers have been complaining over lack of a ready market for their produce and have had to contend with selling their fruits to brokers who buy them for a song.
Five years ago, the farmers were supplied with avocado seedlings by the county government but they have been lamenting that there were no structures put in place to establish a marketing value chain for their fruits.
The county government had also formed several cooperative societies for avocado farmers in other parts of the county but farmers from Gaturi claim that they have been neglected.
They have since formed a group to seek markets for their avocados but still, they decry the lack of water to irrigate their plants considering Gaturi lies in a semi-arid area.
Their chairman Justus Rukungu said that water for farming is a big problem and added that if the challenge can be addressed, the farmers will boost their yields to produce more than what they are producing now.
“Gaturi ward is a semi-arid area that has no water for farming and also no access to piped water in most homes,” said Rukungu on Tuesday when they met the new buyers at Mugeka market.
He noted that if they can access water for irrigation, avocado farming can do better and improve livelihoods for local residents.
Rukungu claimed that the county government had promised to build avocado buying centers in the villages but not even one has been put up to give the farmers hope.
“We request our county government to come on the ground and support our farming and also improve access roads so that our fruits can reach the market in time.”
Rukungu thanked the private company for coming to their rescue saying the prices they are giving were better compared to those offered by brokers.
A representative of Afrifresh Company Mr. Moses Otieno said they will be buying a kilo of Hass avocado at Sh76.
Otieno further said they will be exporting the fruits and challenged farmers to produce quality avocadoes to fetch better prices.
Ward agricultural officer Ms. Rosemary Wambu assured farmers that county administration would address their grievances.
Avocado farming is being embraced by majority of farmers in Murang’a.
By Bernard Munyao