It’s an off-season when it comes to avocados in Kenya and this will have its impact on the prices of both the fruits itself as well as any processed products, such as avocado oil. The good news is that avocado products have become more popular overall, with demand remaining unaffected by the pandemic.
According to Grace Kariuki, CEO of Kenyan avocado oil exporter Origen EPZ, avocadoes have an offseason, meaning the trees produce less fruits : “Increasingly, people are recognizing the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and this has resulted in the demand for avocado oil rising internationally. After a bountiful season last year, this is an off year for avocados in Kenya, which means the trees flower less and as a result, the harvest per tree will be lower compared to last year. If a tree normally produces 200kgs, in an off season it would produce 100kgs.”
Kariuki explains that the reduced availability of the fruit will increase prices of both avocados as well as avocado oil. “The impact of this is that the price of oil will go up due to the high cost of fruit from the farmers. With around 4 main producers of avocado oil in the country, Kenya will still be able to supply the international markets with avocado oil. The only difference is that the price will be slightly higher.”
The pandemic has not had a real effect when it comes to demand for the avocado oil, says Kariuki: “Avocado oil has greatly gained in popularity. As a cooking oil, it hasn't been affected by Covid as people have to cook even while indoors and because of being indoors, people prefer to use healthier oils like Avocado oil and Olive oil. Avocado oil is still cheaper than olive oil with similar benefits hence it is now being preferred as an alternative. We are shipping in bulk to around six countries in Europe and south east Asia.”
Origen hopes to continue meeting the needs of their clients: “Our goal remains the same as it was last year. To provide a consistent market for the fruit for our 50,000 farmers and process the fruits to produce a high quality product for our clients. Meeting our clients’ needs remains our number one priority, because our clients trust us to deliver. Our prayers continue to be with the countries greatly affected by Covid. Locally, we are engaged in various initiatives that boost people's immunity including educating them on healthy lifestyles.” Kariuki concludes.