This article focuses on avocado farming in Kenya. Kenya is the 2nd largest avocado growing and exporting country in Africa and the 6th largest producer in the world.
Kenya produces about 115,000 metric tons of avocado annually. 70% of the production is by small scale farmers. Avocados grown in the country are for domestic consumption and export to Europe and countries in the Middle East.
Avocados mainly flourish in tropical and sub-tropical climates, conditions that really favour Kenya for large scale avocado production.
The major avocado growing areas include Murang’a, Thika, Kiambu, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Kisii, Nakuru, Naivasha, some parts of North Rift, Machakos, Lower Nyanza, Makueni and the Western region.
Varieties of Avocado Grown in Kenya
The main varieties of avocado grown in Kenya include; Hass, Fuerte and Puebla avocados. Fuerte is grown largely for local/ domestic consumption while Hass avocado is mainly grown for export and takes about 5 years to bear fruits.
Avocado season in Kenya is between March and September, depending on the varieties grown. April to September is regarded as the peak period of harvesting avocados in Kenya.
Ecological Conditions for Avocado Growing
- Alluvial, loam or sandy soils with a pH of about 5-7.
- Well distributed rainfall throughout the year, 1000mm.
- Well-drained soils to avoid root rot.
- Optimum temperature of about 20-24 degrees.
- Wind is not favourable for avocados. They have very brittle branches that easily snap off.
- Avocados can be intercropped with other plants such as peas, beans and vegetables such as kale, cabbage etc.
- Spacing of avocado trees may range from 6m by 7m or 8m by 10m. This depends on climatic conditions and soil fertility.
Nutritional Benefits of Avocados
- Avocados are rich in mineral and protein content.
- They are packed with mono-saturated fats and fiber that are healthy for the heart.
- They are rich in potassium which is key in boostering/ increasing the absorption of various vitamins that are soluble. This includes Vitamins A, E, D and K.
Avocado farming is a very profitable agribusiness venture. For an acre, you can plant about 100-130 trees which translates to about 300-400 kg per acre. In the local market, avocado retails at Kshs 176 per kg.
Major Avocado Buyers in Kenya
The following companies are the major buyers of avocados in Kenya. They source avocados from farmers throughout the country.
Contact: 0722 205 895
Contact: 020 822 831
Contact: 0733 600 212
4. East African Growers
Contacts: 0722 200 681, 0733 900 478
5. Kenya Horticultural Exporters
Contact: 0703 471 417