The Hass avocado variety is the most popular among commercial farmers for export because it enjoys a good market in Europe as compared to the other varieties. Avocado growing is largely a permanent investment and, therefore, there is need for careful planning before venturing into it. In Kenya, Hass avocado is mainly cultivated by both large-scale growers and small scale farmers.
Unlike other forms of get-rich-quick schemes that Kenyans have endured and lost billions of shillings, avocado farming enthusiasm appears to be driven by genuine consumer market demand and most importantly, this demand is global.
It is unlike the quail birds farming which was driven by hearsay. Avocado farming is not a new business as many in Kenya have been on it for tens of years but on a small scale.
One of the key drivers of avocado demand is the rise of healthy lifestyle living especially in Europe, United States, Middle East, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, countries which already have high levels of income hence guaranteeing higher purchasing power.
According to various studies, avocado has high nutritional value that helps people live healthy and avoid diseases like cancers of the stomach, hearth diseases, helps remove waste in the body, and protection from diseases like stroke among many others.
There is a growing wave of healthy living across the world driven by emergence of diseases associated with modern living where most of the foods are processed and therefore contain chemicals harmful to the human bodies. Avocados that are grown organically -without use of harmful chemicals – like those of Kenya are therefore gaining popular acceptance in the world to supplement processed foods.
Demand is also driven by industries that process the fruit into oils. Avocado oil is used in the manufacture of medicine, beauty products and consumer goods like cooking oil.
The international price wholesale price for a litre of avocado oil is about Sh8,000.
The third key driver of demand is the Chinese market. Research indicates that avocado fruit is becoming a status symbol among the 100 million Chinese middle class.