According to Governor Mutahi Kahiga, the Nyeri government plans to set up an avocado processing and packaging plant in the next one to two years. He said he is hopeful the new Agriculture executive, James Muturi, will meet the goal of having a cleaning, processing and packaging plant in the duration. “I want him to do two things. One is to revive the dairy value chain and the other is the avocado farming.”
He said this will help Nyeri enjoy the benefits of the European, Chinese and other upcoming avocado markets. The county chief was referring to a deal that was recently brokered by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
China is expected to buy more than 40 per cent of Kenya's avocados if the deal is finalised. Kahiga said his government introduced avocado farming a year ago and this year, the county will give farmers Sh20 million avocado seedlings. Last year, the governor told the Star that processing of the produce will enable farmers get a direct market abroad instead of going through brokers.
“We want to focus on the European market and bypass brokers who buy the fruits from farmers at a throwaway price,” Kahiga said, adding that the brokers have been buying the fruits for less than Sh10 and at times as little as Sh2 but reap huge profits at the expense of farmers.
Last year, the county government set aside Sh30 million for the greening programme and gave out about 5,000 avocado seedlings in every ward. The distribution of the seedlings to farmers was also meant to help farmers diversify from traditional cash crops such as coffee and tea.