Avocado farming in Kenya has full untapped potential. The Kenyan soils are highly suitable for the plant and with the increasing local and international demand, this venture is viable. Full of flavour, packing a high nutrient punch, and neatly protected by its own skin, it is no wonder that the amazing avocado is gaining popularity as a healthy superfood.
The annual global demand is increasing at a faster rate outpacing production, resulting in higher prices on the world market. The Kenyan government is at the forefront of championing the growth of the avocado, unlocking offtake deals with international markets such as Europe and China. Kenya is the world’s third largest producer of avocados. It’s also Kenya’s leading fruit export, accounting for nearly one-fifth of its total horticultural exports.
Small holder farmers produce 70% of the avocado, underscoring their strong contribution to this value chain. Ifarm360 is keen to support the avocado farming at scale, targeting small holder farmers across the country with an ambitious target of growing 10000 trees every year.
We are inviting investors to support us in this venture, providing the much needed resources to finance seedlings and inputs to the farmers.
Avocado yield varies from less than 725kg per 20 trees in a poorly managed orchard to more than 3000kg per 20 trees in a well-managed orchard. Yield also varies by variety. For our estimates, we use a fair scenario average yield of about1800kg per 20 trees for a reasonably well-managed orchard.
Assuming a Field Run Price (grower’s price) of 70 per Kg, resulting in gross revenue of $1145 (Ksh 126000/=) per year per grower with 20 trees. Subtracting the total cost of production, agronomy and marketing ($200, or Ksh 22,000/=) from the gross revenue gives a net return to the grower of about $945 or Ksh 104,000/=per year from YEAR 3. With avocado tree productivity spanning 65 years, this gives a lifetime value (unadjusted for inflation, price, currency fluctuation) of > Ksh 6,000,000/= (or $55,000).
Kenyan avocado has suffered quality issues and poor yield volumes, largely due to inadequate knowledge of modern production practices on the part of small growers and limited access to market-preferred varieties. These risks are manageable through dissemination of certified seedlings of the preferred varieties (Hass, 70% and Fuerte, 30%) as well as investing in training on modern production practices. In Kenya, avocado farming is not adversely affected by pests, a factor that favours fully organic cultivation of the crop.
Adverse weather conditions such as drought and excessive rainfall, may affect production, but fully grown trees generally withstand these conditions. The weather risks will be mitigated by use of weather data and crop suitability index of selected growing areas, relying on historical and current data.
In preparation for this project, ifarm360 partnered with SICAN Community Group in Western Kenya, a certified tree nursery to grow the avocado seedlings. This project has been absolute success, culminating in certification by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) in 2020 and successful raising of over 1000 Hass avocado seedlings ready for the market.
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