Avocado farmers from Kenya’s Central and Rift Valley regions have received an annual bonus of Sh12 million (€94,000) from an exporting company. The farmers received Sh5 bonus per kilogram of avocados sold to Mofarm Fresh Fruits Exporters from January this year.
The Sh5 bonus is deducted from Sh80 the farmers receive for every kilogram of avocados they deliver to the company. They are later given the cash as bonus. Another Sh5 is deducted to pay youths for every kilogram they harvest for the farmers. The youths have been trained by the company to harvest fruits to avoid bruising, which may lead to rejection in the marker.
Company’s CEO Elijah Kamau said he consolidated farmers into groups in 2016 and engaged them in contract farming. The company has about 60 groups of farmers countrywide. “Most farmers think organic farming is complicated yet it only means not using chemicals while growing crops,” Kamau said.
Kamau spoke when he gave bonus payments to Irigiro Avocado Farmers Group in Kigumo, Murang’a county, on Friday. He however noted that fruits from farmers who are yet to be certified as organic are bought and sold separately. Kamau said the only challenge limiting farmers’ returns is lack of water for irrigation, which hampers the quantity and quality of fruits produced.