How To Grow Avocados In Kenya For Export

International Market Prices of Kenyan Avocado

The profitability of avocado farming in Kenya continues to remain high as export prices of the country’s hass and Fuerte avocados continue soaring internationally. To understand how the international avocado market is in terms of demand and supply, you can read this article: Demand For Kenyan Avocado Continues to Climb: The Issue Right Now Is Providing Continuous Supply

Data by the Horticulture Directorate indicates that the price of a 4 kg carton of kenyan avocados in the international market rose by Ksh 800 in 2020. That was a 33% increase from the year 2019. 

Kenya, which is now the 8th largest avocado producer in the world, has experienced a 15% increase in avocado production over the last 1 year, hence increasing the fruits exported to 68,000 metric tons from 59,000 metric tons. As a result, the country earned Ksh 14 billion in revenue in 2020, from the 10 billion it earned in 2019.

Hass avocado farming in Kenya
Hass avocado farming in Kenya: A farm in Kajiado

Why buyers prefer the Kenyan avocado

Avocados from Kenya are grown naturally, right on the equator, in the most ideal conditions. They are organically grown, with most farmers using compost and animal manure to fertilize their orchard hence requiring little crop protection. The equatorial climate allows avocado production to last throughout the year, with the peak seasons starting in February and extending to October. This grants the Kenyan avocados a competitive advantage over the other exporting countries in the global market.

In fact, the hass avocados from Kenya sell in the European markets at approximately three times the domestic price, thus making the exporting options very attractive. This is because the avocados from Kenya actually taste better than other avocados from other countries, including Peru and Mexico. If avocado farming would be professionally done in Kenya, it would definitely be the country’s success story.

Protecting the avocado market in Kenya

However, this rampant rise in the export prices has sometimes resulted in farmers picking young and immature fruits so as to take advantage of the current high prices. Unfortunately, some farmers fail to stick to the necessary quality standards required, which risks the whole Kenyan avocado export being rejected in the global market. As such, the horticulture regulator puts on hold the export of hass and the Fuertes avocados from around October to March every year, so as to give the fruits ample time to reach full term maturity. In the article The 2021 Avocado Harvesting Season In Kenya Starts, we indicate the start of the avocado harvesting season in Kenya and give an outlook of the export market for our avocado, 

Things to Consider when Farming avocados for export

  1. Uniformity in the shape and fruit size is one of the requirements needed for the fruit to be successfully considered for export. The only way to achieve this specific shapes and sizes is solely achieved through consistent irrigation of the crops. This often requires an all-year-round irrigation system, where drip irrigation is recommended. Contact Richfarm Kenya on 0724698357 for the installation of automated drip irrigation systems.
  2. Another key requirement to observe if you want to export your hass or Fuerte avocados from Kenya is the maximum amount of chemical residue in the fruits. Organic fruits have always fetched a high price in the market. Consequently, the fruits that fail to meet the stringent conditions in line with chemical use are blocked from the market. It has always been the belief and practice of Richfarm Kenya that organic farming is the way forward in achieving consistent and sustainable food security. As discussed earlier, the equatorial climate in Kenya makes it possible for the fruits to be grown without excessive use of chemicals for the pests and diseases management.
  3. In order for the fruits to be acceptable in the global market, a farmer needs to be certified. That sounds a little complicated but it actually isn’t. The exporting company that you choose should be able to help you get the certification. While having the best quality fruits gets you at the door of the export business, having the right kind of partnerships and links is the utmost game changer.
  4. Fruit Maturity: Only harvest your hass avocados when they are mature. It is sad that there are some farmers and buyers who have been harvesting immature hass avocado and taking them to the world market. This has the potential to ruin Kenya's reputation in the global avocado market. We explained this issue in detail in this article: Avocado Farming Business in Kenya Under Threat.

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Avocado exporters in Kenya

When one intends to get rid of the brokers and export directly to the international markets, a solid financial partner, experienced body of staff which helps in ensuring the fruits comply with the set standards and a committed logistics company will help you export successfully. Getting in a partnership with Richfarm Kenya will help you outsource all the necessary partnerships, so as to make sure the transition from post harvesting to linking up with the right market is successful.

For most of the farmers, choosing to directly export their produce on their own may prove a bit elusive. Signing into contract farming with a certified export company will help the farmer maneuver more easily. It is also easier since the export company will provide all the necessary production skills, all the way into sorting and grading of the fruits. While looking for the perfect export partner, the farmer should be careful not to fall prey of the booming mushrooming briefcase exporters, who trap the small scale farmers by cashing in on the rush from the avocado farming.

Below is a list of avocado exporters that you can work with in Kenya

  1. Direne Packaging
  2. Kenya Fresh Produce Exporters Limited
  3. Kakuzi Limited
  4. Keit Exporters limited
  5. Mofarm Fresh Fruits Exporters Limited
  6. Kenyan Exports
  7. Bio Farm
  8. Interveg Exports Limited
Be sure to also read the article, The Global Avocado Prices and What Kenyan Farmers Stand To Earnto have an idea of pricing. 

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