Fredrick Chege walks inside his 10-acre hass avocado farm in Elburgon, Nakuru County, with great satisfaction.

With him is his wife, Mary Njeri, who helps him scout for pests and diseases on the trees that are fruiting.

Their farm, named Nyakiambi, hosts some 1,500 hass avocado trees that are at various stages of growth.

“I started the farm in 2019 after buying 1,200 certified Hass avocado seedlings from a nursery. From these seedlings, only 300 of them survived since water was a big challenge for me then,” recalls Chege, noting that he added 900 more to replace those that died.

Later, some of the hass seedlings were also eaten by moles, says Chege, noting he spent Sh630,000 in the venture.

But this did not dampen his spirit. He spaces the trees at 15ft by 15ft to ensure good growth and this enables him to intercrop the fruit trees with leguminous crops like beans since they contain nitrogen that boost the growth of avocado trees.

20,000 hass avocado fruits

“The good thing with hass avocado is that once planted, the trees do not need greater maintenance especially when it comes to inputs like fertiliser,” says Chege.

During his first harvest two months ago, the couple got 20,000 fruits, with each tree producing some 250 fruits.

They sold each for between Sh10 and Sh20 depending on the size to traders.

“This was a good beginning and I am optimistic that in the second harvest in December, one tree may produce up to 400 fruits. Farmers can harvest two to three times per year depending on the season especially when rainfall is sufficient,” he says. According to him, the avocado market is good as he deals with buyers directly on the farm.

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To make the fruits healthier, the couple manures, waters and top dresses the trees with Calcium Ammonium Nitrogen.

Create jobs

“Our plan is to sell our fruits to companies that make products like butter and create jobs for the youths. I call on farmers to embrace avocado farming since it has little expenses and second, the returns are good,” says Njeri, adding that they employ four workers and are working on drilling a borehole and erecting water tanks on the farm as they move to using drip irrigation to water their trees as dryspells become frequent.

Chege sees a bright future in hass avocado farming as in 2020 when Covid-19 struck, demand rose significantly as consumers embraced fruits to boost their immunity.

Molo sub county agricultural officer, Emma Mwangi, notes that certified seedlings are key to good avocado yields.

“Buy the hass avocado seedlings from reliable sources that have been approved by the ministry to increase the quality of production. One can also visit our offices for direction on taking care of the seedlings, the fruits and the trees in general.” Call 0724559286 for seedlings

Kenya is one of the leading exporters of hass avocado in Africa, in 2020 shipping 70 million kilos to the international market. Last year, the country exported 85 million kilos worth Sh14.4 billion.

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