The County government of Kisii has distributed Hass avocado seedlings to farmers in Ogembo area.
The Hass variety that is not common in the area, have been supplied to Boochi, Machoge Basi and Sengera Bosoti wards that are in Gucha sub county with each ward receiving 350.
This comes after consultative meetings among farmers, various stakeholders and the Kisii County government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
Farmers, together with chiefs and assistant chiefs collected the seedlings with each farmer being given the seedlings according to his/her size of land.
The Hass avocado is a cultivar of avocado with dark green coloured, bumpy skin that was first grown and sold by Southern California mail carrier and amateur horticulturist Rudoph Hass, from where the name originated.
According to Gucha Agricultural Officer Kibagendi Josephat, the trees thrives in well suited warm climates and they cannot tolerate extremely cold temperatures.
Kibagendi says the difference between the Hass avocado and the ordinary one is that it has significantly less fats, tastes better and has less calories. The Hass variety is also known for self-pollinating.
Kibagendi noted that this was aimed at realising food security and nutrition, value addition.
He said future plans to construct avocado processing plant in the county required availability of raw materials.
The farmers were educated on how they would plant the seedlings to get productive yields. They were instructed that the first step is to harden the seedlings for 2 to 3 weeks, plant seedlings in a hole about three times the diameter of the seedling’s container and 3 to 4 times as deep. They were warned not to plant the trees too deep as avocado trees have shallow roots. They were also urged to plant them 8 to 9 metres apart.
“Take the seedling out of its container and place it gently into the hole, back fill the hole and tamp down the soil gently then add a little dry manure. Wait for one and half years to harvest,” said Kibagendi.
The farmers complained of the long distance they travel to collect the seedlings and urged the county government to supply the seedlings to area chiefs’ offices for easy access.
A total of 1,050 avocado seedlings have been donated in Gucha.
By Bonface Machuru and Lauryn Nailantei