Avocado production is not new to Kenya, in fact the first commercial plantings were established many decades ago. However, in the last five years, there has been a significant increase in the production of Hass avocados from smallholder farmers, which together with production from larger farms has made Kenya’s volumes grow significantly. It is now the 8th largest exporter in the world.
This might seem a nice ranking, but in comparison to worldwide producers, it is still very small. Just to put this in perspective, Kenya exports annually around 70,000 tons of Hass and Green Skin varieties. Mexico the world’s largest producer grows 2,500,000 tons of Hass alone.
So how can it be achieved that consumers will buy Kenyan fruits rather than Peruvian or South African goods? For most products to improve demand, growers have to ensure that the consumer has an excellent experience when they consume Kenyan fruit. Making sure that only the correct quality fruit reaches the market is essential, but must also be matched with other key aspects. The world’s consumers are demanding more of farmers, perhaps without necessarily respecting that commodity prices must also be sustainable.
To deliver quality products to the market, growers must ensure proper crop husbandry, included fertilizer and related inputs, application at the right stage. Harvesting, too, must be at the correct maturity level, and the correct post-harvest and cold chain management protocols adhered to the letter.