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Farmers urged to plant jumbo avocados

Farmers in Kisii County have been asked to plant the Jumbo variety of avocados due to the growing demand for the crop in the international market.

Speaking to the press at the Agricultural Training Center (ATC) on the outskirts of Kisii town, Director for Horticultural Crops Directorate, Benjamin Tito, said there is a new development, where the Jumbo variety of avocados, has acquired an international market that the local farmers can tap into.

“Initially, the export market would only pick on Fuerte and Hass varieties of avocado. But with Jumbo variety, the market is coming up because the avocado has a very high content of oil and forms the best rootstalk,” said Tito.

The Director also encouraged nursery operators across the country to visit Kisii and pick the rootstalk from the region because it has the resistance to most fungal infections and can easily adapt in many regions of the country.

Tito said the Directorate was working with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to register nurseries with Jumbo avocados across the country, so that the crop is sold to the international market in large quantities.

Kisii County Governor James Ongwae urged farmers to work towards being recognized as a leading grower of Jumbo avocados since other regions have extensively focused on growing the popular varieties of avocado such as Fuerte and Hass.

“You will end up having a niche market for yourselves instead of competing with the others out there. You can ask for support to improve the nurseries that are planting the Jumbo variety,” said Ongwae.

The County Boss noted they had already built an Avocado Factory and is looking for an investor to conduct the day-to-day business of the plant because the County has the capacity to grow a wide variety of avocados.

He also pointed out that the County had established a cooperatives for the farmers, where they address the farmers’ concerns and it would be easy to slowly start introducing the value addition to the Jumbo avocados variety.

By Mercy Osongo

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