Assemblage house to hasten Avocado production in Murang’a and increase export

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By Murimi Gitari, February 17, 2023, A Murang’a-based farmer’s union has embarked on the construction of an assemblage house that will help with packaging and export of avocado directly to international buyers.

The facility worth Sh.70 million will help farmers associated with Murang’a Avocado Farmers’ Cooperation Union to eliminate brokers who for long have been taking advantage of them.

The World Bank and county government-funded project through the National Agricultural and Rural  inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) will help farmers sort and package quality avocados in a bid to access international buyers.

Mr. Mwaniki Gitau, Chairman of the union, commended the project reiterating that it will edge out middlemen who limit returns for farmers. He spoke during the ground-breaking for the construction of the assemblage house on Wednesday in Kandara.

He fathomed the assemblage, anticipated to be completed before the year is out, should enable the exportation of quality fruits that are in high demand in the global market.

The chairman noted that in the last harvesting season, the union members exported more than 350 metric tons of avocado, spawning sh. 2 billion.

The county leads in avocado production but this has not benefited farmers hugely due to broker farmers who have streamed the market.

“With the aggregation house, we will be able to sort, wash and package quality fruits for international markets. This will bring in more returns to farmers,” he added.

The chairman, Mwaniki disclosed that the union has agreed with four exporters who have expressed interest in purchasing their avocados adding that this could ensure farmers get minimum guarantee return price.

He stated that they have recognized markets in Mexico, Dubai, China and Egypt where they will be exporting the produce.

The subsector has a huge potential to generate income for the country considering that Kenya ranks third among major avocado producers.

“As a union, we have settled on Sh.120 as the minimum price and we hope we can get as much as Sh.200 per kilo of avocado,” he remarked adding that their target is to hit Sh.6 billion sales from avocado considering the potential of the sub sector.

Mwaniki asserted that in Murang’a County there are 92,250 avocado farmers who can produce up to 700 metric tons annually adding that currently the production stands at 500 metric tons.

The chairman said the union has been engaging agricultural officers to train farmers on best farming practices for them to produce quality.

“We are doing organic farming as per the international standards and this will ensure we give the best quality to the market.” he added.

Mwaniki however decried increased farm theft of the produce attributing it to unscrupulous brokers who have set up kiosks in the area.

“We have mushrooming kiosks in the area and buyers are buying any quantity at a throw away price. The theft has also occasioned harvesting of immature fruits thus tainting our reputation in the international markets,” he stated.

Mwaniki continued “The government only needs to put in place measures to safeguard the produce and ensure it does not collapse like the tea and coffee sectors,” said the chairman.

Simon Wamwea ward representative for Ng’araria said there is a motion in the assembly which is aimed at curbing avocado theft where the buyers will be required to obtain a license from the county government and also keep a record of the farmers who supply them with the fruit.


Tags: #avocado production, #Kenya, #Muran’ga County

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