'Rwanda should strategize on producing avocados for export'

Health conscious consumers in developed countries in Europe are struggling to find avocados, yet Rwanda and other sub-Saharan countries offer excellent conditions for large scale production of this fruit.

Rwanda boasts of 141, 130 metric tons of avocados total production margin per year but most of this is composed of varieties unfit for export.

Kenya is the only country in this part of the world that has consistently developed its Avocado production and therefore enjoyed a seeming export monopoly- the country is ranked eight globally in avocado production.

According to Hosea Machuki, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) chief executive officer, the country mainly exports 3 varieties: Hass, Fuerte, and local Jumbo variety. More than 115,000 metric tons of avocado are produced in Kenya annually, where 70% are normally grown by small-scale farmers

For example, Kenya’s avocado exports jumped 15% to 68,000 tonnes over the 12 months to October, fetching the country Sh14 billion (U$12,820,5140). This has been attributed to the adoption of higher international quality standards.

Meanwhile, Rwanda which joined the East African Community in July 2007 produces 82,000 metric tons of locally grown avocado varieties that are not export-grade. In 2012, the government of Rwanda embarked on an aggressive plan of distributing export-grade seedlings and educating public on the value of different avocado varieties.

Hass avocado is the most popular variety of avocado in the world. The Global Hass Avocado Market is projected to register a Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% during the forecast period 2020-2025.

Rwandan Scientists in agriculture may be required to invest deeply in avocado development to come up with an exportable variety that can at least take fewer years to mature despite the growing demand for organic fruits.

For the full article on Taarifa, please click here.

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