Avocado has become the new golden fruit due to the immense demand both locally and internationally. This has seen avocado prices rise with farmers making more profits from them. Hence, this article will focus on how to do avocado farming in Kenya.
Kenya avocado production
Kenya is ranked as the 6th largest avocado producer in the world with production averaging 500,000 tonnes yearly. This figure is expected to triple by 2030 as farming expands and average production per acre improves.
Most common type of avocado in Kenya
The common types of avocados farmed in Kenya are Hass avocado and Fuerte avocado. Hass is more common as it has a higher demand than the rest. However, there are over 40 avocado species farmed in the country.
Best areas for avocado farming in Kenya
Avocados do well mostly in central, rift, and eastern areas of the country due to their ideal weather and soil conditions. Some of the higher avocado farming areas include Murang’a, Machakos, Meru, Kiambu, Kisii and Nandi.
The conditions for avocado growing include average rainfall of 1000 mm-1500 mm. Optimal temperatures between 20c -25c. The area should also not experience high wind levels.
Avocado seedlings in Kenya
To have a highly productive avocado farming, you need to get the right seedlings. You should only buy your seedlings from reputable nurseries.
If you are starting, ensure to do market research by engaging already existing successful farmers. They will guide you on the best place to get your seedlings.
On average, an avocado seedling costs between 150 shillings and 1,000 shillings. One of the biggest and best seedling sellers and avocado producers is Kakuzi Limited.
The planting process is a key part of the long output of the avocado plant. You need to get it right here for successful farming.
Avocados require a spacing of 5m by 5m per seedling. This means that utmost, an acre will hold 150 avocado trees.
During planting, you need to dig holes of up to 1m deep depending on the area rainfall amount. You should also ensure to add a sufficient amount of organic fertilizers to improve the nutrients.
It is advisable to plant avocado grafts to give them a higher chance of survival. Grafted avocados have a higher drought and disease-resistant level making them more adaptable.
How long do avocados take to mature in Kenya?
Avocado farming is a long-term project as it takes at least 2 years for the plant to start bearing fruits. Such a tree produces about 50 fruits per year. The more the years the higher the production. A 4-year avocado plant produces on average 500 fruits while a 10-year plant produces on average 1,000 fruits per year.
Hence, you should have adequate capital to support the plants until they are mature enough to produce market fruits.
Avocado market in Kenya
There is a big market for avocados both locally and internationally. However, the international market will fetch higher.
Some of the largest international markets for Kenyan avocados are the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and China.
To sell your fruits, you can either do it locally to the numerous brokers and societies that buy the fruit on average 10 shillings per piece.
However, you can also export where prices are higher selling at an average price of 200 shillings per kg To become an exporter, you need a phytosanitary certificate from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)