Avocado farmers in Kisii County, Kenya are set to benefit from the commissioning of a 70-tonne avocado oil extraction factory in the area. The factory will be instrumental in providing a ready market for their produce, reducing wastage and post-harvest losses that have previously been experienced due to a lack of ready markets. Here’s how they will benefit:
Ready Market for Avocado Produce
The factory will enable farmers to access markets for their produce, which has been a major challenge for them in the past. This will help to increase their income by ensuring that they get a fair price for their produce, while reducing post-harvest losses.
Financial Support from UK Government
The UK government provided expert advice and a seed fund worth Sh79 million for the logistical framework to maximise fruit collection in the county. This has been used to purchase nine trucks to transport the fruits across the county.
Increased Production and Capacity Building
In addition to increasing farm yields, the project will also provide the necessary training and capacity building to farmers on better farming methods. This will lead to increased production and better quality of produce.
Processing Avocado Oil for Export Market
The factory will process avocados sourced locally from farmers to produce avocado oil for the export market. The facility can process up to 70 tonnes of avocados daily, and the extraction yield will range between 4-10 per cent, depending on the varieties of fruits supplied as raw materials.
Creation of Jobs
The AvoFresh Project Manager Mr David Gitonga said that the factory has invested Sh355 million into the extraction facility and will create 95 direct factory jobs and 100 induced jobs in the first year. It will work with 1,000 farmers, which will increase to 3,000 in subsequent years.
Enabling Environment for Investments
Kisii County Governor Simba Arati has promised to come up with legislation geared towards creating an enabling environment not only for this particular investor but for all other investments in various sectors of the economy. He has also instructed the Department of Agriculture to give the investor full support to ensure the sustainability of this project.
Distribution of Hass Seedlings
To increase production of the Hass variety, the governor said he will distribute Hass seedlings to farmers. “We have already completed the procurement processes for our first phase of this programme and soon our farmers will be receiving the seedlings,” said the governor.
In conclusion, the commissioning of the 70-tonne avocado oil extraction factory in Kisii County is set to benefit farmers in the area by providing a ready market for their produce, reducing post-harvest losses, increasing production, creating jobs, and improving the enabling environment for investments. It is an excellent initiative that will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of the residents of Kisii County.