Nairobi(Online) - KEPHIS has trained Youth for Our Planet group on avocado production, emphasizing that Kenya’s avocadoes are among the best in the world and urging them to grow the highly nutritious fruit to uplift their standards of living.
Avocado is the 2nd most important fruit in Kenya after Mango in terms of exports; the major season for the fruit is from March to September while smaller volumes are available from October to February. Varieties include Hass which is in high demand worldwide, Fuerte, Pinkerton, Puebla, Linda, among others. Kenya is the highest producer of avocado in Africa and 8th in the world.
Left: An avocado orchard and right: avocado fruits
The training, held online, is part of sustainability initiatives of KEPHIS, where the Institution builds capacity to various stakeholders on the mandate of the Corporation. These include women, youth and persons with disabilities. Seventeen members of the group benefitted from the training which endeavored to also inculcate the benefits of venturing into agribusiness.
Ms. Asenath Koech, an inspector who conducted the training, went through the various aspects of avocado production, from getting certified seedlings, nursery establishment and management, grafting, management of pests and diseases, among others. KEPHIS also donated 20 seedlings for the youth who will grow them using the techniques they learnt from the training.
Left: a pheromone trap(yellow colour) for mitigating fruit flies; right: an avocado nursery
Opportunities in avocado production include the opening of new markets such as China and India and re-opening of the South African market, Kenya’s ability to produce avocadoes throughout the year, increased demand for avocado for consumption due to its health benefits as well as advanced knowledge to manage challenges, for example traps to mitigate against the fruit flies.
The young people were urged to look out for pests such as Thrips and the False Coddling Moth and diseases such as root rot.
To establish avocado orchards, participants were urged to conduct market surveys, observe the crop planting calendar, test soil and other agro inputs before planting, use quality planting materials, basal application of compost manure, recommended land preparation practices, and to obtain seedlings from registered nurseries.
At the end of the training, Ms. Irene Soit, the country leader for the youth group advised that the session was beneficial as they now have knowledge on the benefits of growing avocado. “We have seen that this is a venture we can get into with the support of KEPHIS,” she said.
Youth for Our Planet is a global movement of young people urging world leaders and governments to take action on the nature crisis and climate emergency.