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Increasing demand from Russia for Kenyan avocadosEverywhere in the world growers are ramping up the volumes of avocados as the popularity of the fruit continues to increase. Kenya, perhaps better known for products such as coffee, beans and herbs is also getting a hand in the avocado game.
Saipei Foods from Kenya currently send around 100 containers per year into Europe.
"Our season is from week 14 to week 36 and we grow both the Fuerte and Hass avocados," explains Wycliffe Musili from Saipei. "We send our Hass avocados to France, Holland and Spain and last year we were able to send our Fuerte avocados to Russia as there seems to be an increasing demand from there too."
He says that production in Kenya is increasing quickly and farmers who traditionally would grow coffee or tea are now growing avocados due to the high prices. The regional and local governments are contacting farmers to educate them on avocado growing and on forming cooperatives to deal directly with the buyers.
"We are an exporting company with our own farm and we are GlobalGap certified, if we don't have enough of our own production we get avocados from other growers to fill the orders."
According to Wycliffe there is no shortage of trees or seedlings, and there are a lot of people who are growing avocado trees.
"We will increase our Hass production as you have to give the market what they want, and in Europe it is only Hass," said Wycliffe.
Challenges facing the Kenya growers include getting the farmers to understand how to handle avocados and how to harvest properly, and also how to maintain the cool chain throughout the process to ensure good quality when it gets to market, it is also a challenge to prevent people from harvesting early, according to Wycliffe.
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