Farmers in Murang’a under the Kenya Avocado Association are requesting Pesticide Product Control Board (PPCB) to approve chemicals that they will use against pests and diseases to boost production.
They said the label extension of pest control chemicals will also ensure avocado from the country are not barred in the international markets.
Speaking on Friday during the issuing of bonus to avocado farmers who had sold the fruit through Kakuzi Company Limited, the Chairman of the Association, Ernest Muthomi, said in the past, avocado have been regarded as any other crop with no approved chemicals to control pesticides.
With label extension of pesticides, the Chairman noted that farmers will be saved from being blocked in the international markets for using unauthorized pesticides.
“Avocado in the past have been perceived like any other crop such as maize, beans among others but now that the fruits are penetrating into the international markets, there is need for PPCB to approve more pesticides to protect the fruits from damage caused by pests and insects,” added Muthomi.
The Chairman said that currently avocado farmers have not been using any chemicals for fear of having their produce being rejected by international buyers. Once approved, he added, the chemicals will go long way to boost production of avocados in the country.
“We don’t want to have a scenario where our avocado will be blocked by international buyers and this can only be realized by having approved chemicals for the fruit,” stated Muthomi.
Meanwhile, the Chairman called upon farmers to register in the Association which has been in the frontline to ensure only quality avocadoes goes to the market.
He observed that immature fruits may prompt foreign countries to shun avocadoes from Kenya.
“The Association has been on ground educating farmers on ways to boost production of quality avocadoes. Selling of immature fruits will ruin the reputation of our avocadoes,” noted Muthomi.
He observed that last year, the country managed to earn about Sh. 15 billion from avocado, expressing hope that this year the earnings may go up.
Murang’a, he said, is a major avocado producer as almost half of the total earnings of avocado in the country goes to the County.
Speaking during the same occasion General Manager of Kakuzi Company Ltd, Paul Mbugua underscored need to educate farmers to produce quality avocadoes as immature fruits will prompt avocado to be ignored by buyers.
By Bernard Munyao