He is an avocado farmer, who is exporting the fruits to Europe.
He has been growing avocados since 2006 after switching from coffee. He shifted to avocado after the coffee industry became shaky. He says, he cannot regret having moved since some of my colleagues who stuck to coffee are facing numerous challenges that have made the industry lose its lustre.
To switch to avocados, the farmer uprooted over 500 coffee trees. He has been in the horticultural industry for over 15 years. He knew what could make money and I convinced my mother. Neighbours thought it was not a smart move.
He grows the Hass Export variety of avocados, which he mainly sells overseas. When he started, he planted 100 avocado trees. He bought seedlings from a friend. He increased the number to 222 in the second year. Right now they are 322.
He says that unlike coffee, avocado farming is profitable yet it requires minimal maintenance.
The seedlings should be planted during the rainy season for better growth. The spacing between the trees should be seven by seven metres. If the trees are not well-spaced, the canopies will overlap and yields will fail.
During planting, the holes should be filled with about five kilos of manure and one can later add DAP fertiliser for better growth. He use goat droppings for manure as they take less time to decompose as compared to cow dung.
He harvests 600 fruits from each tree annually—equivalent to between 100 kilos and 150 kilos of fruits.
The food quality consultant and a one-time technical director of Kenya Horticulture Exporters Association, made Sh.300,000 in every quarter of the year from exports.
A fruit fetches an average of Sh.10 in the export market. The fruits are mainly sold in Middle East, South Arabia, France, Holland and Germany. France and Holland are my main markets. He supply directly to the markets about 20 tonnes of avocados.
This year, he expects to export 12 to 14 tonnes to different countries, which will fetch him at least Sh.500,000 every three months.
He hopes to start producing avocado seedlings to meet the high demand from farmers seeking to grow the crop. ―he has an order of 5,000 seedlings that hecannot meet. Each seedling goes for Sh.200.
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