Saturday, 25 July 2015

Grow avocado fruit for export market (Persea americana)

Avocado fruit is an important export commodity from Kenya. Kenya has a place in the international markets alongside the other producer countries like Chile, Peru and South Africa. In Dubai 70 to 80 per cent of avocado fruit come from Kenya when the fruit is in season. There is also a specific window for Kenya, due to a longer season which runs from March to September enabling good returns. There is need for agro-enteprneurs to acquire the relevant accreditation including KenyaGap, GlobalGap and ISO compliance certificates to compete on a worldwide scale. The crop takes about 3 years to give the first produce. During this period fast growing crops may be interplanted between rows to ensure sustainability of income generation from the avacado orchard. One acre can give a gross income of Ksh 2Million per year with minimal inputs.

 Avocado Varieties: Fuerte and Hass are the main export varieties. Other varieties include Nabal, Puebla, Pinkerton, Tonnage, Simmonds.

Ecological requirements 
Altitude: 1500-2100 m a.s.l. depending on variety,

Rainfall: at least 1,000 mm p.a.
Temperature: 25-280C,

Soils: Deep, fertile and well aerated, Optimum pH 5.5-6.5.

Propagation: Grafting or budding methods are used for  avocado propagation. Wedge grafting is preferred.

Nursery: Use healthy, egg sized seeds to produce rootstock.

Grafting: when the seedling reach pencil size thickness.

Avocado orchard establishment:
Land preparation: Remove tree stumps, bushes and perennial
weeds and then plough the ground to 30 cm depth.

Planting holes: 60 x 60 x 60 cm to be dug early before planting

Spacing: and 7 x 4 m for high density, 9 x 9 m for conventional planting.

Fertilizer: CAN

Age of tree
Manure (kg/tree)
Over 8yrs

Pruning: 1st years pruning is done to encourage lateral growth
and multiple framework branching. Maintenance pruning
done annually after harvesting.

Windbreak: Placed at right angles to the prevailing winds.

Weed control: Manual weeding, cover crops (preferably with
Legumes) or mulching.

Harvesting: Avocado fruit harvesting begins in the 3-4th year.

Yield: Production of avocado orchard is 250-300 kg/tree/year.

Post harvest: Cool storage within 24 hours

Utilization: Eaten fresh, used in ice cream flavouring,
base for milk shakes and soups. Oil is used for the manufacture
of creams, lotions and soaps.

Marketing: The main export  varieties are Fuerte and Hass.