Sunday, May 19, 2024
Home > Agriculture > KALRO to promote avocado farming

KALRO to promote avocado farming

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) has embarked on avocado seedling multiplication to scale up production of the fruit as farmers eye the lucrative European market.

Through the initiative, KALRO targets to avail avocado seedlings at its centres spread across the country to help increase the acreage of land under the crop in the country.

This comes as Kenya moves to claim a spot among the largest exporters of avocado in the world through an aggressive campaign to tap into new markets outside Europe.

KALRO Seeds Director Robert Musyoki said propagation of the seedlings was ongoing at the Kibos centre in Kisumu and other centres across the country, with a target of producing 320, 000 seedlings per year.

Through farmer field days, he said KALRO was sensitising farmers in Kisumu and other parts of western Kenya, which have the potential for avocado farming, to embrace the fruit.

“This region has very good soil and weather that is conducive for avocado farming. That is why we are encouraging farmers to take up the initiative,” he said.

KALRO, he added, has conducted extensive research, adding that the varieties being given to farmers have been certified by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and have the potential to produce enough yields to meet the demand for the international market.

“Like here in Kisumu, we have an international airport that launched cargo flights last year. We want farmers in this region to take advantage of this avenue and export their avocados directly from Kisumu,” he said.

KALRO, he disclosed, was working on modalities to enhance access to the seedlings to ensure that as many farmers as possible benefit.

“One of the options we are considering is to have farmers place orders for free and then make payments within 60 days,” he said.

Kenya has over 40 varieties of avocado. However, Hass is the main export variety.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the average farm gate price for Hass avocado in 2022 was Sh18 per kilo, while the average export price was Sh150 per kilogramme.

Currently, Kenya is the leading avocado exporter in Africa, with a production of 417, 000 tonnes, followed by Ethiopia, which produced 152,000 tonnes in 2022.

By Chris Mahandara

Leave a Reply