Samson Musembi, a retired primary school teacher from Karangita village in Thika sub-county, has planted Hass avocado trees on two acres of land. He learned of this potential fortune-making venture in 2017, when random buyers knocked at his door to buy the few avocado fruits that he had in his compound. He then learned of Kakuzi Plc from these visits, which buys avocados from farmers and exports them to foreign markets.
“I later visited Kakuzi farm in Thika town, where I learned more about avocado farming. When I came back home, I had already made up my mind: stop tea farming and focus on avocados.” He now sells his produce to Kakuzi and China.
When Kenya and China signed a trade deal in 2019, which opened up the Asian market for fruits from Kenya, many farmers shifted to avocado farming. According to Ernest Muthomi, chief executive of the Avocado Society of Kenya, they had registered thousands of members across the country.
Thefloridastar.com quoted him as saying: “China’s move spurred an avocado boom in many parts of Kenya. We have witnessed many farmers abandon traditional cash crops (such as tea, sugar, and coffee) to start avocado farming. In the first quarter of 2021, we exported more than 26,000 tonnes of the fruit to Europe, Middle East, and China.”
Kenya produces 115 tons of fruit every year, according to the Market Access Upgrade Program, an initiative of the European Union and the East African Community.