Farmers in Nandi County have been urged to diversify into avocado farming as an alternative source of income.
Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Mr.Okisegere Ojepat said the county has what it takes to embrace avocado farming, calling on farmers to exploit the lucrative enterprise.
He said avocado is easy to handle, has medicinal value and has a bigger market in the world both for fresh and for process.
“There is future in avocado because it gives us money and sort out your nutrition .Today people are looking for herbal products from avocado other than herbs,” he said
The CEO was speaking at the County headquarters after training farmers on good agricultural practices which touches on production, nutrition, marketing, quality, post-harvest handling, transportation and how to package it for the market in order to earn more income.
“We expect out of this training that Nandi County in the coming season should be able to produce at least 256 metric tons up from 93 metric tons they got this year since we have quality seeds,” he pointed out
He encouraged farmers to join cooperative societies saying it’s easier to market their produce and negotiate for best prices both at the local and international markets.
Nandi Avocado Cooperative Society which started three years ago has more than 600 farmers who engage in avocado production.
Mr Ojepat also encouraged farmers to engage in avocado value chain adding that global market is growing everyday
“Avocado value chain is currently the leading earner of income as far as fruits is concerned. We want our people to be empowered so that we can fight poverty and have money in our pockets,” he said
Bernard Kipruto, a farmer who shifted from maize production to avocado says he earns twice what he could get from maize calling other farmers to embrace the crop because it has higher returns.
By Linet Wafula