Murang’a targets to plant 10 million trees of Hass avocado by 2022.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria says the county already has six million trees and wouldprovide local farmers with a million seedlings annually. It will also give the farmers inputs to raise productivity.
The county is currently reported to be earning Sh2.5 billion from Hass fruits, an amount it seeks to maximise by 2025.
“Given that a Hass avocado seedling takes three years to post first harvest, all the efforts we have put in place will mature by 2025, factoring in the seedlings that we will issue in 2022,” he said.
The Hass tree has an optimal production of 1,000 fruits per year, meaning that of the 10 million trees that he aspires to have in the county, production will hit one billion fruits by 2025.
“At minimum market value of Sh8 per fruit, it means the county will rake in a gross income of Sh8 billion and when calculated at a maximum of Sh32 per top quality fruit, the income could jump to Sh32 billion,” he said.
The county has grouped 250, 000 farmers into a giant county Hass avocado producer group that draws membership from ward levels.
“Through this county umbrella producer group, we have been able to penetrate organised markets and locked out brokers who have for a long time thrived on price distortions to disadvantage growers,” he said.
The county government will come up with harvest calendars to realise quality product for the market given that some brokers and farmers have been colluding to make premature harvests that erode quality and pricing.
The county has partnered with the central government to satisfy new markets for avocado in Europe and Asia. Mr Wa Iria said his government will continue supporting the farmers to conform with the conditions set by the export market especially regarding use of banned chemicals.