Avocado

INTRODUCTION

The avocado is native to the Americas. It is very nutritious with a high protein and oil content and is becoming increasingly important as an export crop.  Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit. The tree grows to 20 m (66 ft), with alternately arranged leaves.

PRODUCTION

Varieties Fuerte and Hass are for export.Reed, Booth 8, Puebla, Pinkerton and Simmond are grown for local consumption
Seed Rate 125-208 plants per hectare
Fertilizer Rate 120cm/hole DAP 20kg/hole manure20gm/plant CAN as top dress
Planting Spacing 100mx8m /forte 6x8m the rest and a plant population of 125-208 plants per hectare
Husbandry Select healthy, egg sized seeds and plant them in boxes or seedbeds. Immediately after germination transplant the seedlings into 4 litre pots, tins or polythene bags. Water them regularly until they are pencil thick. Grafting should be carried out when the seedling reaches pencil thickness. Generally a spacing for pure stands of avocadoes of 9m x9m will be suitable. Dig holes of 60cmx60cm by 60cm deep keeping the top soil and the sub soil separate. Mix the top soil with 1 bucket (20 litre) of well rotted manure or compost and 1-2 handfuls of Mijingu rock phosphate. Remove the plant from its pot keeping the root and soil structure intact and plant out using only the topsoil mixture to fill the hole.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
No major pest and disease of Avocado
Expected Duration from Planting to Harvesting 3-4 years
Climatic Conditions Depending on variety, avocado grows well from 0-2100 m above sea level (asl). The varieties ‘Tonnage’, ‘Simmonds’, ‘Booth 7&8’ are suited to lowland areas between 90 and 800m. ‘Hass’ and ‘Nabal’ are suited to altitudes 800-2100m above sea level. ‘Fuerte’ and ‘Puebla’ are suited to altitudes 1500-2100 m asl. Avocado grows successfully on many types of soil provided they are deep, with good water holding capacity and free draining. Avocado will not grow where frost can occur. An annual rainfall 1200 mm is optimal for good production. Climatic conditions with alternating dry and rainy seasons are best for avocados.
Harvesting Harvesting starts at 3-4 years from planting but a good yield is obtained from the 6th year onwards. It is not easy to tell when the fruits are ready for harvesting unless they are of the varieties that change colour at maturity. Harvest a sample and keep at room temperature. If they soften within 7-10 days without shrivelling then the fruit of that age are ready for harvesting.
Post Harvest and Storage Just ensure the fruit is not injured.
Growing Regions About 70% of avocado is grown mainly in Muranga, Kiambu, Thika, Embu, Meru, Taita Hills and Kitale.
Expected yields Up to 30ton/ha (250-300 kg of fruit per harvest season)

PROCESSING

Processing Processed into Oil, Paste and perfume.

MARKETING

Place Marketed locally and exported
Price Kshs 1500 – 4000 per 100kg bag

CONSUMPTION

Products / Uses Avocado oil, Avocado Perfume and Avocado paste, Eaten as fresh fruit, in salads, soups, ice cream.
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values The fruit is nearly sodium free, is rich in potassium dietary fibre and vitamin B6, C, D and E. The avocado oil is cholesterol free, of the monounsaturated type believed to protect against heart disease and certain kinds of cancers.

FACTS & FIGURES

High avocado intake was shown in one preliminary study to lower blood cholesterol levels.On a 100 g basis, avocados have 35% more potassium (485 mg) than bananas (358 mg)

Kakuzi is the largest avocado exporter in Kenya

BUSINESS CASE

Income Per Hectare: Kshs 450,000 (30,000kgs * 15/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 90,000 (20% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 360,000 (80% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 6000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Yearly.