Murang’a government has established a county avocado cooperative society to help in locking out brokers who for many years have invaded the sector.
The county cooperative society will oversee operation of other eight cooperatives from the sub counties and streamline marketing of the fruits for better returns.
Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria said the cooperative society will ensure farmers are no longer exploited by brokers who buy their fruits at a throw away price.
The cooperative, Wa Iria noted will ensure avocado are harvested at the same period and only mature fruits will be delivered to the market.
He said that farmers have been enticed by brokers to sell them fruits even when they are not ready for the market.
Addressing more than 10, 000 farmers at a meeting held in Kandara Thursday, the governor observed that from now henceforth the society will be announcing harvesting dates to lock out brokers and curb theft of avocado.
“With the cooperative society in place, harvesting, marketing and management of the avocado sector will be streamlined. All farmers need to register as members of the cooperative,” added Wa Iria.
Murang’a is the highest producer of avocado exported to international market but farmers have been decrying poor returns.
“Last year, price for avocado ranged from Sh. 5 to 42. The society will work out to bridge the disparity in prices where the low price is associated with brokers,” he added.
He continued, “If the sector is well managed, the county will gain more returns from exportation of avocado.”
Wai Iria said as the county government, they have identified seven exporters who are best buyers of the fruits.
“We don’t want to lock out any buyer; what we want is better price for our fruits. So far we have some companies which last year bought an avocado at Sh. 15 to 42 depending on the quality” noted the governor.
Last year the county government spearheaded distribution of more than a million avocado seedlings to boost farming of the crop.
This year, Wa Iria said they will focus on the lower parts of the county including Ithanga, Makuyu and Kakuzi while distributing the seedlings.
Meanwhile, the county government will embark to curb theft of avocado witnessed in some sub counties.
“The county enforcement team will be on patrol especially in March when avocado will be ready for harvesting to help tame theft of the fruits which has been reported in some parts of the county,” he added.
By Bernard Munyao