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Embu avocado farmers achieve global certification

An initial 32 farmers affiliated to the Kevote Avocado Farmers Co-operative have achieved the Global Good Agricultural Practices (Global GAP) certification that will enable them access global markets for their produce.

Avocados ready for harvest. Photo/FILE

The 32 join another 300 farmers in Murang'a county who have been trained by social enterprise, One Acre Fund, to grow organic, pest free fruits that are in demand in the world market.

The certification has also enabled the farmers to be connected to an international buyer, with the price of the in-demand Hass avocado shooting to KSh100 per fruit from the KSh 5 to 10 previously offered by middlemen.

Embu County Director of Co-operatives Mugendi Ndwiga speaking at Makengi police post during a ceremony where certificates were issued to the farmers said they hoped that the number of certified farmers to rise to 200 by the end of the year. 

He added that they are looking for more partnerships as they seek to increase the avocado's importance as a cash crop in the county that has previously been dependent on coffee, tea and macadamia for cash.

The Director of Cooperatives invited the youth to join in the growing avocado train saying unlike tea and coffee the fruit did not demand too much of the farmer's time and attention.

"When you plant avocado there is no need of much time to look after them they can survive so youths should take up the opportunity," said Ndwiga.

Increased value

Mr Daniel Omondi of the One Acre Fund said their organization hoped to increase the value the farmers draw from the crop and hoped to be eventually working with 1,500 households in the area.

He said the food safety certification will give the area's fruits wider market acceptability.

"This certification will ensure farmers do not go loss because market will be available," stated Omondi.

A farmer, Mr Jacob Muriithi, said they were optimistic that with the training they had received there would be less of the seasonal wastage of the fruit.

A field supervisor with the One Acre Fund Mr Paul Nyamuma said the farmers had been trained on all the Global G.A.P requirements of phytosanitary implementation, inspection, self audit and external audit.

Another farmer, Stephen Njiru, called for experts to show them how to deal with fruit shedding and fruit flies without using the chemicals whose residues would lead to a rejection of the fruit in the market.

"Now we are assured of good returns," said Njiru.

Mrs Mary Njue, who is the treasurer of the co-operative said they appreciate the new marketing arrangement that paid the higher prices on delivery.


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