How To Produce Fruits And Vegetables For Export Market For Extra Profit

Is fruits and vegetable farming profitable?

The demand for Kenya avocado, macadamia, passion fruits and a range of other fruits and vegetables in the international market is high and on a promising rise. As such, fruit and vegetable farming presents a good opportunity not only for farmers but also for exporters and other people in the value chain to make good profits from agribusiness.
profitable fruit farming in Kenya
Fruit Farming in Kenya

For the Kenyan farmers, both domestic and export markets have their own unique advantages but the common thing is that they are undersupplied. In fact, the main limiting factor to farmers accessing these markets is their inability to produce sufficient quantities.

What challenges are farmers in Kenya experiencing?

There are a number of challenges that face farmers in the horticulture sub-sector which include:
1) Low incentives in terms of local market prices.
2) High costs of inputs that include seeds, fertiliser, pesticides.
3) Stringent international standards and market requirements, which are a barrier to accessing the export market. A good example are the conditions put forth by China for Kenyan avocado.
4) Post-harvest losses and lack of quality to improve consumer acceptance.
5) Low availability of capital and limited access to affordable credit for horticultural
6) Climate change, mainly unpredictable weather, and presence of pests and diseases. Kenya currently cannot export avocados to South Africa and some European destinations until we demonstrate that we can properly manage the fruit fly and false codling moth. Until we find ways of managing the citrus greening disease in oranges and the woodiness disease in purple passion fruits, the markets for these fruits will remain unexploited.
7) Low adoption of modern farming and processing technologies by Kenyan farmers.
8) Poor infrastructure: Inadequate storage, lack of pack house facilities and refrigerated trucks constrain marketability of horticultural products.

How can you address these challenges?

The first this you should do is get training on production of fruits and vegetables as well as compliance to market requirements. The stakeholders in the avocado and macadamia production value chains are doing a good job in this. Farmers should ensure they attend their trainings and implement what they learn. Richfarm Kenya always updates these events in their Facebook page You can follow the page to receive regular updates. 
As a farmer, you should also ensure that you plant the varieties that suit your farm. New fruit and vegetable varieties are also being introduced in the market; these varieties are more productive, resistant or less susceptible to pests and diseases. Richfarm Kenya is always posting information about these varieties on our social media pages and website. Farmers have a responsibility to investigate which varieties of the crops is better for their environment. The officers from our company work very closely to farmers to help them in this. We actually have some information up on our website about this. See the articles below:

Are Kenyan farmers exporting more fresh produce abroad?

Domestic consumption of fresh produce is still high and currently stands at about 90 per cent of total production.
However, export market is currently growing and the major markets are in the Euro-zone.
To improve margins, Kenya has focused on diversifying to other non-traditional export markets such as the United Arab Emirates, Middle East, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The main products to the European Union are French beans, snow peas and sugar snaps, broccoli, herbs, and spices and avocados, among others. Kenya exports vegetables, herbs and spices, avocados and mangoes to the Middle East market.

How Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) is helping the small farmer to export fresh produce

Small-scale farmers in Kenya have previously been hit by the European Union’s stringent food safety regulations. The tough measures, combined with rising cost of production, knocked-out some farmers from growing the vegetables for export, leading to drop in the amount of vegetable exports. On the other hand, fruit farming is not as challenging as vegetable farming when it comes to controlling pests and diseases. As a result, small scale farmers in Kenya can easily produce fruits that meet the set standards for international market. 
FPEAK links smallholder farmers to its members who buy from them, pack and export to various destinations. They also advice the farmers on the kind of crops that they can grow for the export market.

How Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) works and how farmers can satisfy what Kenya-GAP requires?

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is a set of practices that a farmer should follow in order to produce fruits and vegetables that meet export market requirements. In our country, we have Kenya-GAP which explains to farmers the internationally accepted practices in growing fresh produce. These are measures that ensure the food we present to our buyers is safe to eat. It also takes into consideration aspects of environmental conservation as well as the health and safety of our workers at the farms.
In other words, Kenya-GAP teaches us the farmers the best practices with regard to the use of farm products such as pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers while also taking care of employee welfare and farm management, among others.
If you would like to know more about this, you can check out the national standard KS 1758 part II on fruits and vegetables. It explains very well the compliance criteria that farmers in Kenya for both local and export market should observe.

What kind of vegetables and fruits should farmers to grow to access the export market?

Vegetables: French beans, snow peas, broccoli, courgettes, carrots, garden peas, salad onions, leeks and cucumber.
Fruits: Avocados, passion fruits, mangoes, pawpaw, oranges, strawberry and dragon fruits.
Herbs and spices: Basil, coriander, thyme, parsley, mint and chives.
We are always happy to provide you with more details about fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya and how you can access both the local and international markets. You can always reach us on phone or whatsapp on 0724698357 or 0723213602. 

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