Larry Madowo’s Thought Provoking Tweet on Avocado Export Business in Kenya

Many Kenyans eyeing the obviously lucrative agribusiness sector have their gaze fixed on hass avocado farming. However, it looks like the real money is in the avocado export business, no wonder there have mushroomed so many small export companies of late.

On Monday January 20th this year, Kenya’s popular journalist Larry Madowo, who is now living in the USA, made a tweet that ignited debate and provoked thoughts about what is more profitable between hass avocado farming and hass avocado export business in Kenya.
"This tiny avocado cost me $1.69. Isn’t this daylight robbery?" Larry tweeted, of course wondering why he had to pay Ksh171 (equivalent of $1.69) for a small avocado that he would have hesitated to pay Ksh20 for if he was here in Kenya.
avocado farming in Kenya
The avocado that got Larry Madowo complaining

If you are surprised at the price in the USA, then you have a bigger shocker awaiting you. In Germany, an unripe avocado costs approximately 5 Euros (more than Ksh 500 at the current rate). Avocado prices in Europe are much higher than in USA and most other parts of the world.

Let’s keep in mind that the best paid avocado farmer in Kenya gets Ksh48 for his best fruit (For avocado prices in Kenya in 2019 read “Sweet Pay for Kenyan Avocado Farmers in 2020”). This scenario begs the question “Is the significant difference in price due to the cost of transporting these fruits to Europe and USA?” Of course not: while farmers in Kenya are celebrating the improved prices, the people who are truly smiling to the bank are the owners of the export companies.

But why can’t the farmers export their own avocado to these markets and cut off the middlemen? Well, that is not entirely impossible but given the small scale nature of avocado farming in Kenya, individual farmers do not have the produce quantities and the financial muscle to put in place the infrastructure required to successfully export their fruits.

Yes, the only way to address these weaknesses as farmers is nothing new… We have to come together to form marketing bodies. This is an idea that has been floated to farmers for the longest time; it has obviously been met with inactiveness, perhaps because farmers don’t even know how to start.

How about this – we join a common-interest Whatsapp group for avocado farmers in Kenya. I think such a platform will give us an ample space to interact and brainstorm on how we can bring our efforts together to aggregate our produce to meet the required consistency and pull our resources together to meet the infrastructural requirements that will enable us smoothly export direct to the market instead of using middle men.
You can join our hass avocado farmers’ common-interest group through this link

The export market for Kenyan avocado is huge and growing. We painted a picture of how it is in this article Demand For Kenyan Avocado Continues to Climb: The Issue Right Now Is Providing a Continuous Supply.

You will also remember that in April 2019, the Kenyan government signed a trade deal with the Chinese government allowing Kenyan avocado farmers to export their fruits to China. While there are tough regulations in that deal, the Kenyan government is negotiating to have them removed and the negotiations are actually starting to bear fruits: see Avocado Farming in Kenya Gets a Boost as China Slashes Duty on Kenya Avocadoes.

Projections indicate that when this China deal becomes fully operational, without excessively limiting small scale farmers with tough regulations, the Chinese market alone will be able to absorb 40% of Kenya's total avocado produce.
The future looks bright for avocado farmers in Kenya. It’s obviously the ripe time to invest in this project as we make efforts towards bringing farmers together to enable them access the international market directly. We, at Richfarm Kenya would love to help you in establishing your hass avocado orchard. You can reach us easily through 0724698357 or through the other channels given in our Contact Us page. Don’t forget to go to the Farmer’s Resources page to get a copy of this Hass avocado farming guide (PDF).

avocado farming in Kenya pdf


Unknown said...

Clear, coherent and useful information. Premature harvesting is a real threat and its unfortunate there is no legislation hitherto. In 2020, there was some control on "harvest commencement" dates unlike this year. I hope we revert to the control going forward.

Richfarm Kenya said...

This year, there was the same control too. But indeed, proper laws to control this should be put in place