Farmers in Nyamira County have been urged to diversify into avocado farming as an alternative nutritional supplement and lucrative enterprise.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Andrew Tuimur said the County has what it takes to embrace avocado farming and advised farmers to exploit the profitable venture.
Dr. Tuimur, made these remarks while officiating the avocado cultivation launch in Nyamaiya stadium, Nyamira County.
. “Farming the staple maize has in the recent past frustrated many farmers because of a myriad of challenges, ranging from reduced land sizes, attacks by disease which has become costly to treat leaving many homes starving with no economic returns due to poor yields that is the reason why we are advocating for diversification into Avocado farming,” said Tuimur
Dr. Tuimur revealed that the government has entered business partnership agreements with countries such as China and South Africa and already has ready market for the product.
He added that in Kenya the market demand for avocado has not been fully met, and urged farmers to plant avocado trees on their farms saying the yield and economic returns are assured with minimal production cost.
The Secretary thanked Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) for accepting to partner with the Agriculture Department in Nyamira County to offer professional extension services in providing right and timely information on the right variety of Avocados which qualify for international market standards.
Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago, who was also present echoed the same sentiments by the CAS and told Nyamira farmers to leave maize farming to Uasin Gishu whose land sizes are large enough to sustain it and concentrate on short term maturity crops to reap maximum benefits despite the constraints.
“The market demand for Avocado is so high and international markets have realized Kenya has what it takes to produce the quality they need for their normal consumption and value addition such as making other products like oil.” Mandago said.
Kisii Governor James Ogwae, said an avocado processing factory is complete and ready to receive Avocado crop from any part of Kenya though advised farmers to embrace the Hass variety of Avocado as the sole raw material as it produces the highest quantity of oil needed by the factory.
“Farmers in Kisii County have registered Avocado cooperatives through which they will mobilize their commodity and sell it as a group and it will be easy for them to negotiate for best prices both at the local and international markets,” Governor Ongwae explained.
KEPHIS has partnered with Nyamira County to encourage farmers to plant as many Hass Avocado trees as possible as an alternative of fruit trees which have the minimum production cost, especially to small scale vulnerable farmers with an intention to boost food and nutrition security, improve incomes and sustain living standards of people of all levels economically in Nyamira County.
By Deborah Bochere