More than 2, 000 homesteads in Murang’a County are targeted to benefit with avocado seedlings as the county eyes to exploit the vast Chinese market.
The county government this year plans to distribute more than 1 million seedlings of hass avocado to help increase the fruit production.
On Wednesday, the county administration led by Governor Mwangi wa Iria launched the distribution exercise whereby in the current rain season about 500, 000 seedlings will be given to farmers.
Wa Iria while launching the programme at Ihura stadium said the next 500,000 seedlings will be distributed in October-December rainy season.
The seedlings, he said, are sourced from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO), thus they are of best quality and will help the farmers produce quality avocados.
The farmers in the county last year generated more than Sh.2.5 billion from the fruit after the county government linked them with international buyers.
Wa Iria said by enlisting China, Mauritius and Seychelles as buyers of Kenyan avocado, farmers will have to increase production to meet the vast demand.
Murang’a County with more than 120, 000 registered avocado farmers has been leading in production of the fruit.
The governor encouraged the farmers to register with Murang’a avocado farmers’ cooperative society which will help in marketing their produce.
He said that the farmers will be provided with gadgets to help them in measuring sizes of their fruits so as to avoid
being exploited by buyers.
“The price of avocado is determined by the size and maturity of the fruits. We will provide our farmers with measuring rings to help them measure their avocados before selling them,” he added.
The governor added that extension officers will be deployed in every sub county to help farmers nurture their seedlings to maturity.
He encouraged the farmers to take advantage of high demand of Kenyan avocados in the international market, saying the demand is quite enormous.
The seedlings will be distributed in all trading centres for a period of one week to farmers who have registered in the programme.
Kandara, Kigumo,Kahuro and Kangema sub counties are the leading areas of avocado production in Murang’a.
The Avocado Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Ernest Muthomi said farmers should think of doing value addition to avocados so as to fetch better prices.
Muthomi cautioned farmers against selling immature avocados, saying poor quality fruits may taint the quality of Kenyans avocados in the international markets.
He added his organization will partner with several county governments to support avocado farming.
By Bernard Munyao/Ann Maina