Kenya making the most of avocados
The growing popularity of avocados has been quite staggering, with much of the developing world adding the fruit to its regular diet. Not so long ago the fruit lay in the dark corner of most supermarkets with little interest and use existing outside of Mexican cuisine. Then through the growth of healthy restaurant chains and social influencers pushing the fruit’s healthy credentials, demand quickly spread.
Today the market has grown by more than 800% from a decade ago, with demand creating a rapid influx of farms looking to capitalise. Kenya in particular is enjoying this growing market, with the country possessing the perfect conditions to grow large stocks. Avocado exports to Europe from Kenya nearly tripled in value between 2013 and 2017, as prices for the fruit in Kenya have doubled.
The fortunes of some farmers have certainly grown as land continues to switch from dairy farming to Avocado trees. What illustrates this major shift best is until five years ago most farms hadn’t planted trees in over 30 years.
The value of mature trees is clear, with 200 trees offering an income of around £15,000 per annum. As the number of trees continues to increase this income will grow significantly creating more jobs for local farmers and families.
Last season around 10,000 we’re added to the industry to make the most of the rainy April season, a period often expected to yield the best quality fruit. Once harvested there is quite a bit of labour involved in cleaning and packing the avocados for export.
Like most crops grown in Africa, there is a significant difference between the price purchased compared to the price sold. Most farmers could expect to get around £0.10p per avocado with a restaurant charging around £10 for avocado on toast in London. There does need to be a better balance for growers if this industry is to remain stable.
With Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta travelling to China later in November to negotiate trade, you can expect avocados to be a major talking point. If a better deal can be agreed for farmers in Kenya, don’t be surprised to see the country become the avocado capital of the world.