East African and Nigerian avocado farmers are eager to enter the growing avocado export market. However, environmental concerns cast a shadow over the crop in other parts of the world. This means African farmers will have to do things differently.
Due to high global demand, the avocado has become a lucrative export product. Its consumption per capita increased by 406% between 1990 and 2017 in the US alone. The so-called green gold is rapidly gaining popularity on the African continent. Both Nigeria and Uganda aim to drastically increase their avocado production and become top exporters in the next decade. Kenya is already among the global top 10. Export revenues in the East African country surged by a third between 2019 and 2020. Farmers are hailing the crop as an antidote to poverty in rural areas.
But the sought-after fruit has been making negative headlines around the world. Water shortages and the destruction of biodiversity have been linked to its production. The environmental issues have cast a dark shadow over the commercial farming of avocados in Latin America's top exporting countries, such as Mexico and Chile.
But African avocado farming is promising a brighter future, according to both farmers and scientists. Due to an emphasis on smallholders and beneficial rain patterns, the crop's production is expected to be less environmentally harmful than on the American continent.