Kenya should capitalize on avocado demand, says report
The USAID-funded Kenya Horticultural Competitiveness Project found smallholder farmers could increase incomes through enhanced productivity, crop diversification and improved market access, the story reported.
The report said Kenya needed to promote awareness of its fruit in destination markets, like other producers such as Chile, Peru, South Africa and Israel had done.
But in the project's survey farmers complained about common requirements in destination countries to have Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, which proved difficult as growers needed to cover audit costs.
Kenya's share of avocado exports to Europe fell from 8% to 7% last year, while the African country's industry tends to have annual export incomes worth between US$17 million and US$26 million, the story reported.
The report highlighted growing demand for avocadoes in the distribution centres of France, Spain and the Netherlands.
"Growing demand from these countries has resulted in a 23 percent increase in imports by volume since 2006. Further expansion in demand is likely as consumers become educated about the health benefits of avocados," the report said.
The country's avocado production mostly occurs in Central Kenya and the Rift Valley, considered by farmers as a long term investment with yields continuing decades after planting, the story reported.
The countries of South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon accounted for 12% of global avocado output in 2008.
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Photo: Business Daily Africa