Kenyan farmers should exploit global fruit demand

Kenyan farmers should exploit global fruit demand

A senior horticulturalist has urged Kenya's smallholder farmers to invest more in growing passion fruit, avocados, ground nuts, French beans and corn for commercial export, website reported.

Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) managing director Dr Alfred Serem, said Kenya earned KES91 billion (US$1 billion) from export of fresh produce last year but demand for global markets was yet to be met.

"The local market for horticultural products is about KES300 billion (US$3.7 billion) but farmers have not been exposed to the opportunities as well as those in European countries," he was quoted as saying.

He said HCDA was training farmers on opportunities in local and foreign markets in a bid to increase farm incomes and generate jobs.

Dr Serem said vast fertile pieces of land could be put to good use through leasing and irrigation supported by affordable credit.

He said large undeveloped land in Rift Valley and western Kenya, for instance, could be developed using loans from commercial banks and the Agricultural Finance Corporation.

Canken International export promotion manager Dominic Biwott, added farmers in counties in western Kenya and North Rift regions should use the Eldoret International Airport by growing crops for export.

Kenya's earnings from produce in 2012 are expected to be depressed from frost which attacked farmlands earlier this year, just after the sector was recovering from last year's drought.

"Farmers should grow those crops that mature quickly. They are in high demand and returns to farmers are handsome when managed well," advised Dr Serem.


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