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Muranga Plans to Protect Avocado Farmers by Law

Murang’a county government is in a process to formulate a law which will protect avocado farmers from being exploited by brokers.

The law expected to be in place by mid next year will also guide in harvesting and marketing of avocado in an effort to maintain quality fruits which would in turn earn good returns.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria on Friday noted that the county government will fully involve exporters among other stakeholders in formulating the law before it is presented before the county assembly.

The purpose of the law, the Governor said is to ensure only quality avocadoes reach the market to ensure farmers get better returns as well as bar brokers who for long time have been exploiting farmers.

Murang’a County currently produces about 57 percent of all avocadoes produced in the country making it a leader in avocado farming.

Selling of immature avocado has been termed as a major challenge as international buyers shun countries which sell immature avocadoes.

Mwangi said the law once effective, will give direction on dates for harvesting avocadoes and deal with brokers who have been luring farmers to harvest immature avocadoes.

“The law will clearly state when the avocadoes will be harvested. This will block selling of immature avocadoes, a trend which has ruined our reputation in international markets,” he added.

He added the legislation will also guide the establishment of avocado protection unit which will help in arresting brokers enticing farmers to harvest immature fruits.

“The Protection Unit will ensure no immature avocadoes are harvested. The unit further will block unscrupulous business people coming to cheat farmers to sell fruits which not ready for market,” added the Governor.

The governor was speaking at Kakuzi Company Ltd, during an occasion to pay avocado farmers bonus amounting to Sh. 88 million.

This year, the county government has distributed more than a million avocado seedlings to farmers.

The returns from  the fruits annually is estimated to Sh. 5 billion with the governor saying they are targeting to realize more than Sh. 20 billion returns from avocadoes in two years’ time.

Kakuzi entered into contractual agreement with more than 5,000 farmers four years ago but currently about 2,000 farmers have remained active.

The money will be shared by the active farmers where a fruit will be paid at Sh. 48, an amount which has been the highest to be paid for avocado.

General Manager of Kakuzi Ltd Mr. Paul Mbugua said the company has been on ground training farmers on how to produce quality avocadoes which fetches more returns.

He noted that Murang’a County being one of major producer of avocado has benefited greatly from international markets.

“We have been able to pay high bonus following selling of mature and quality avocadoes. Our fruits have penetrated hugely into European markets.” Added Mbugua.

 

By Bernard Munyao

 

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