I collect my pension every month from lovely avocado

Joseph Kones inspects avocado fruits on his farm in Kaporuso village, Kembu ward, Bomet County. Avocados do well in Bomet due to good quality soil and favourable climate and many exporters are now sourcing the fruits from the area, according to him. PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The former hotel manager, who worked at Keekorok Lodge (Maasai Mara), Samburu Lodge, Lake Baringo Club and Tree Tops in the Aberdares, says he was bitten by the farming bug during his time at the facilities in a career that spanned 25 years.
  • In 2015, some years after he had retired, he visited Murang’a County for lessons on avocado growing and planted 50 Hass variety trees on a half-acre, from which he currently harvests and sells the produce to Berur Horticultural Cooperative Society, which bulks and sells to exporters.
  • He expects higher production in the next three seasons and in subsequent years, having expanded the number of trees on his farm.
  • Anthrocnose is another disease that attacks the plants but can be easily controlled using appropriate fungicides and ensuring proper sanitation on the farm, he says.

A dark, green canopy welcomes the Seeds of Gold team to the 18-acre avocado farm at Kaporuso village in Kembu ward, Bomet County.

The Hass avocado trees are teeming with fruits that have offered owner Joseph Kones a blissful retirement.

“Avocados are the fruit of the moment because of their triple benefits. They offer better nutrition, have a high commercial value and are good for re-afforestation,” says the 70-year-old.  

The former hotel manager, who worked at Keekorok Lodge (Maasai Mara), Samburu Lodge, Lake Baringo Club and Tree Tops in the Aberdares, says he was bitten by the farming bug during his time at the facilities in a career that spanned 25 years.

“I planted my first avocado seedlings in 2013. They were 20 plants of the Fuerte variety but only 12 survived due to poor husbandry,” he recounts.

In 2015, some years after he had retired, he visited Murang’a County for lessons on avocado growing and planted 50 Hass variety trees on a half-acre, from which he currently harvests and sells the produce to Berur Horticultural Cooperative Society, which bulks and sells to exporters.

GOOD QUALITY SOIL

“The other week I harvested 2,750 kilos of avocados, earning some Sh250,000 after selling a kilo at Sh90,” says Kones, a father with eight grown-up children.

He expects higher production in the next three seasons and in subsequent years, having expanded the number of trees on his farm.

During a tour of his farm, we find Collins Ng’etich, one of his sons, supervising workers planting tree seedlings on an acre, having following in the footsteps of his father

“Avocados do well in Bomet due to good quality soil and favourable climate. Many exporters are now sourcing the fruits from the area,” says Kones.

Erick Boinet, an agricultural officer at the Bomet County agriculture department, says fruit flies are the most common pests that attack avocados, but they can be controlled through good sanitation and use of pheromone traps.

Anthrocnose is another disease that attacks the plants but can be easily controlled using appropriate fungicides and ensuring proper sanitation on the farm, he says.

“The seedlings should be eight-by-eight metres apart, with production expected to be 3.2 to 4 tonnes per acre per year at five-year maturity period," adds Boinet.

According to him, a mature tree should produce an average of between 250 and 300 kilos of fruits per year.

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