Kenya avocado farming has been dominated for years by the green, sweet fuerte variety but since the turn of the decade, this variety has been slowly getting a good friend in the name of hass avocado – a variety popular especially in the European market.
Though many Kenyans still choose fuerte in a stock where hass is present, the Kenya hass avocado in its resplendent deep purple shade when fully ripe still fetches impressive returns for the Kenyan avocado farmers. This does not, in any way, affect the productivity of all types of avocado from local farms because since 2014, the global market demand for Kenya avocados has increased tremendously, meaning that all types of Kenya avocados are capable of finding buyers throughout the season.
One of the causes of the rallying behind new avocado varieties, notably hass, is that not only are they more readymade for quick husbandry and grafting to boost yields, but mature quicker than their predecessors. While it behooves farmers to give rows of fuerte trees a duration of at least six years to bear their first crop, the hass story is remarkably different: it requires a minimum 24 months for the tree to strain under the weight of the budding fruits thus ushering the reaping season remarkably early.
The concepts for multiplying yields per tree are generally botanical, and not just simple care and looking up on favorable climate to cast a wand of fortune on the crop, but rather, grafting the seedling with better mutants to introduce a higher yielding variety.
What are some of the ways in which family growers of Kenya avocados all over Kenya are taking care of their hass avocado cultivars? Firstly, cultivation goes in tandem with understanding the conducive growth conditions under which to undertake this kind of farming. The fruit requires altitudes of a thousand to two thousand meters above sea level, which happily most of the Kenya highlands ably meet. The level of rainfall ought to be consistent, up to a minimum of 1000mm per year. A little more and the plant will perform better but excessive moisture may cause leaf turning yellow and introduce rot disease. The temperatures should be cool enough with an average of 22 degrees celsius as sunshine is essential for hastening the blossoming of flowers into fruits.
Fuerte avocado is still the most popular and most common Kenya avocado across Kenyan fruit vendors.
MT Kenya Avocado Farms is a member of Selina Wamucii which sources Kenya avocados and other fresh produce like pineapples from family growers in Kenya.