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Mathioya avocado farmers to enjoy better prices after striking a new deal

The  Workers at KEITT Company packing avocados for export in Nairobi. Photo by Bernard  Munyao/KNA.

A  Murang’a Member of County Assembly (MCA) has assisted avocado farmers from his ward to ink a deal with an exporter which will assure them of increased earnings.

Kiru MCA, Morris Thuku has assisted more than 500 farmers mainly from Mathioya sub county to strike a deal with KEITT Exporters Ltd based in Nairobi.

In the new deal, the farmers will be able to get new prices ranging between Sh15 and 20, up from Sh11 per piece, which they have been selling in the past.

Thuku who helped formation of Mathioya Avocado Farmers’ Cooperative Society on Tuesday led the officials of the cooperative to sign the deal with the exporters and discuss future measures to improve avocado farming in the sub county.

He told KNA on Wednesday that the new prices will be implemented in two weeks’ time urging farmers not to rush to harvest their Hass avocados but wait to enjoy increased prices.

The MCA observed that the new deal will be a major boost to farmers especially during this time that majority of Kenyans have been hard hit by the impact of Covid-19.

He said in previous years, avocado farmers have been exploited by brokers who buy a fruit for as low as between Sh5 and 6.

“With the new deal, farmers will be able to market their avocados jointly and this will help them to avoid exploitation by middlemen. The deal will see farmers get a farm-gate price of up to Sh20 per fruit,” noted the MCA.

Thuku said supply of avocado from Peru which have flooded the international markets in the past few months has gone down and thus within three weeks’ time, avocados from Kenya and South Africa will dominate overseas markets.

“I appeal to farmers to hold harvesting for a while as within a period of not more than three weeks they will be selling their fruits at better prices,” he added.

Mathioya  is one of the major producers of avocados in Murang’a county. Other sub counties where avocados do well include, Kangema, Kahuro, Gatanga, Kigumo and Kandara.

By last month, the farmers had sold avocado worth Sh.3 million to the exporter but by the end of July when the fruits will be fully mature the earnings are expected to go up.

The Murang’a county government in the past has been helping to root out brokers who buy avocados from farmers at throw away prices.

The devolved unit among other stakeholders have also distributed Hass avocado seedlings to farmers so as to boost production of the fruit.

Currently, the county is the leading producer of avocado in the country with a section of farmers who sold their fruits through Kakuzi Ltd last year accruing about Sh.9 billion as bonus.

Thuku  observed that with the new deal, farmers from his ward will also benefit from training to boost farming of the fruits.

“We have agreed to train farmers on best practices of nurturing avocado trees with the aim of improving production. After containing the Covid-19 pandemic, we will have an open avocado day to educate our farmers on how to increase production of the fruit,” Thuku further said.

By  Bernard  Munyao

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