Kirinyaga farmers target a Ksh 15 million income from avocado seedlings

Written By: Hunja Macharia

Farmers groups in Kirinyaga County will earn an estimated Ksh 15 million from the sale of hass avocado seedlings this year.

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The groups were funded by the County Government through the first round of the National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth Program (NARIGP), to establish avocado seedlings nurseries last year.

Governor Anne Waiguru said the County Government will buy the seedlings from the first round groups at a cost of Ksh 15 million and distribute them to the second round of beneficiaries who will then start propagation of hass avocado seedlings.

The Governor was speaking in Kimunye and Kamiigua, Kirinyaga East, on Tuesday where the County Government purchased seedlings worth Ksh 2.5 million from farmers groups.

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“Kirinyaga County will lead in avocado seedlings production where our farmers will be selling quality seedlings to other farmers within and outside our County. Through our Wezesha Kirinyaga program we will also build avocado aggregation centers and an avocado processing plant where avocados for local and export market will be processed,” the Governor said.

She flagged off 60,000 seedlings to be distributed to 30 farmers’ groups that are beneficiaries of the second round of the program.

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Waiguru said the County Government has so far supported 314 farmers groups under the Wezesha Kirinyaga empowerment program to implement diverse agricultural value chains including, dairy, avocado, tomato, poultry and pig production.

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“When we support farmers to diversify their agricultural activities, we create multiple income streams for them and reduce overreliance on one particular crop,” She noted.

She said the rising demand for avocado in the local and export market, presents an immense investment opportunity for farmers in the County and that her administration is committed to supporting them to increase production and access to market.

The County’s current annual avocado production is estimated at 15,000 metric tons worth around Ksh 300 million.

With the County Government’s interventions, the production is expected to go up to 21,000 metric tons which will be fetching the farmers around Ksh 700 million.

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Avocado farming is not only expected to lead to improved household incomes and the county’s economy, but also enhance food security, a pillar of the Country’s Big Four Agenda.

The Economic Survey of Kenya 2020 indicates that export earnings from fruits increased by 3.1 percent from Ksh 12.8 billion in 2018 to Ksh 13.2 billion in 2019, accounting for 9.1 percent of total earnings from horticultural exports.

Avocado has a fair share among leading export crops with around 68,000 tons having been exported in 2020.  Kenya is ranked among the eight topmost exporters of the crop whose demand is extremely high in the European countries and Middle East.

A hass avocado tree can yield between Ksh 8,000 and Ksh 9,000 worth of fruits annually.

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