Waiguru says county to give Hass avocado seedlings to residents

Waiguru avocado seedlings

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru gives Hass avocado seedlings to a resident of Kamigua village on May 12, 2021. She said farmers’ groups funded by her administration will earn Sh15 million from sale of the seedlings this year.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

Farmers’ groups in Kirinyaga County will earn at least Sh15 million from the sale of Hass avocado seedlings this year, according to Governor Anne Waiguru.

The groups were last year funded by the county government, through the first round of the National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth Programme (NARIGP), to establish avocado seedling nurseries.

She said that the county government will buy the seedlings from the groups and distribute them to residents for planting.

Empower all residents

Ms Waiguru reiterated that her administration is determined to empower all residents in the region.

Speaking in Kimunye and Kamiigua villages on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Waiguru said her administration has already bought seedlings worth Sh2.5 million from the groups.

“We want to be the leader in avocado seedlings production where our residents will be selling quality seedlings to other farmers within and outside our county. Through our Wezesha Kirinyaga programme, we will also be building avocado aggregation centres and an avocado processing plant where avocados for local and export market will be processed,” she added.

She flagged off 60,000 seedlings to be distributed to the residents.

The governor said that so far, the county government has supported 314 farmers’ groups under Wezesha Kirinyaga empowerment programme to implement diverse agricultural value chains including, dairy, avocado, tomato, poultry and pig production.

Diversify activities

“When we support farmers to diversify their agricultural activities, we create multiple income streams for them and reduce overreliance on one particular crop,” she stated.

She emphasised that due to the rising demand for avocados in the local and export market, avocado farming presents an immense investment opportunity for farmers in the county. She said her administration is committed to supporting farmers to increase production and access to markets.

The county’s current annual avocado production is estimated at 15,000 metric tons worth Sh300 million. With the county government’s interventions, the production is expected to rise to 21,000 metric tons which will be fetching the farmers around Sh700 million annually.

Improved incomes

Avocado farming is not only expected to lead to improved household incomes and the county’s economy but also to contribute to the achievement of the food security pillar of the country’s Big Four Agenda.

Avocados are among leading export crops with around 68,000 tons having been exported in 2020.  Kenya is ranked among the eight top exporters of the crop whose demand is quite high in the European countries and in the Middle East.

A Hass avocado tree can yield fruits worth between Sh8,000 and Sh9,000 annually.

Avocado growers are expected to reap more as prices are expected to rise in the coming years. As such, the more trees a farmer will be having the more returns he or she will be getting.