Farmers in Kirinyaga have come together and formed Kirinyaga avocado growers’ cooperative society limited which would assist in marketing their produce.
The society was formed by the coming together of community based groups dealing with the growing and selling of avocados.
The chairman of the society Amos Gicanga said they saw the need of grouping the farmers together into a society to enable them speak in one voice when it comes to marketing of their avocados.
Gicanga said middle men have been exploiting the farmers and buying their produce at a throw away price.
“This is what necessitated the need to call all the farmers together and educate them over the losses they have been incurring when they sell their avocados to brokers,” he said.
Gicanga was speaking to the media after he addressed a huge number of farmers who turned up for the meeting at Gatugura social hall in Gicugu.
He said the middle men enticed the farmers to harvest the avocados even before they attain the right weight thus resulting to loss on the farmers’ side.
Gicanga said the society changed their group’s name from Gichugu Avocado organization to now Kirinyaga Avocado growers after incorporating farmers from the entire county.
He said already, they have enlisted twenty five groups dealing with the avocado, some with seedlings and others with mature trees and already selling their fruits.
“We have 205 members who sell their avocados to Kakuzi Company in Muranga.
He said upon delivery, the company is able to pay some part payment and clears the rest after they are able to sell the avocados with the second payment being paid as bonus.
The avocados are packed in cartons which at times could earn Sh160 per 12 pieces depending on the size of the fruits; a carton could go to 14 pieces.
Gicanga said the future of the society is to compete with Kakuzi in the export of the avocados especially from Kirinyaga County.
He said there was no big deal involved as the fruits were only cleaned and graded then taken to the airport for distribution to the market.
“Already, the society has done a proposal for a small factory for the value addition which will be able to clean and grade the produce for export,” said Gicanga.
“We are aware one piece of our avocado is currently retailing at 4 dollars in England and six dollars in China,” he noted.
Last week, Gicanga said a delegation from China was in Kirinyaga exploring the possibility of how to get the avocados directly from the county.
“You can imagine Sh4 to 6 dollars for the farmer as compared to Sh1 or two paid by the brokers when they go for the avocados from our farmers,” he said.
This is why we saw the need to bring the farmers together and educate them on the need to completely avoid the middle men and sell their farm produce to the right people,” he said
He said a single tree of avocado is able to produce close to 2, 000 pieces if well taken care off.
“We are lucky the government through National Agricultural Rural Inclusive growth project has promised to support our initiative of coming up with a factory that we will use to add value to our produce,” he said