Avocado farmers in Murang’a County in 2016 earned a gross income of Sh500 million, the county has said as it moves to take over the business from brokers.
“It is one of the best performances so far. But it is way below the total potential since most of the proceeds were middle-men driven,” said Governor Mwangi wa Iria on Monday.
The best performance was posted by the new Hash variety whose gross sales was Sh21 million.
“This was a result of the county government severing brokers’ influence on the Hash variety. We grouped farmers into regional producer groups and established a value addition plant in Maragua sub-county. The result was succeeding in capping minimum guarantee price per piece of Hash avocado at Sh8 up from the middlemen’s price of Sh1.50 a piece,” he said.
This year the county plans to take over the whole avocado sector and register all farmers into an umbrella union expected to provide farmers with inputs, extension services as well as marketing.
The governor said, so far, the county had succeeded in eradicating diseases that have in the past adversely affected returns from the crop.
“In 2014, we had an outbreak of a disease known as phytophthora, which claimed nearly 40 per cent of avocado production.
“Out of the average 1, 500 tonnes that we expected as harvest, we only managed 800 tonnes,” he said.