Kenya is a land of plenty. From coffee, tea, and maize to flowers, the East African nation has an impressive array of agricultural produce. It is no wonder the avocado, which is indigenous to the country, thrives in its soils. Avocados are one of Kenya’s top horticultural exports, with the fruit being shipped to various parts of the world, including Europe and the Middle East. This ready market for this produce has catalyzed its growth, with more and more farmers planting the crop. In this blog post, we have a list of the top five avocado-growing counties in Kenya. We also highlight factors that contribute to the success of avocado farming in these areas. Without further adieu, let’s dive in!
Top 5 Avocado Growing Counties in Kenya
1. Murang’a County
Located in the central region of Kenya, Murang’a county tops our list of avocado-growing counties in Kenya. The county is renowned for its rich red soils, perfect for horticultural crops. The area has a conducive climate for growing avocados, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 27 degrees Celsius.
The county also receives an annual rainfall of 1000-1500mm, ideal for avocado farming. Murang’a has many small-scale farmers who have embraced avocado farming due to its profitability. The county produces a whopping 40% of Kenya’s avocado supply, and more are expected in the coming years.
Apart from a favorable climate that makes this county thrive in avocado production, the county government has also played a significant role in supporting farmers. The government has implemented policies and initiatives that protect avocado farmers and help them grow and sell their produce. These bills empower small-scale avocado farmers, who can now make a good living from their farms.
2. Nyeri County
The second-largest avocado-producing county in Kenya is Nyeri. The county is located in the country’s central highlands and is commonly known for its coffee production. However, this has changed since most farmers in this county switched to avocados due to their profitability.
This county has an ideal climate for avocado production, with temperate conditions and rich volcanic soils perfect for avocado farming. The average rainfall in Nyeri is 1,500mm per year, which is ideal for avocado trees. The county produces both the Hass and Fuerte varieties of avocado.
The rise of avocado cooperatives and favorable avocado prices in Nyeri county has seen many smallholder farmers invest in this crop. These cooperatives have helped farmers to access markets and get better prices for their avocados. Also, institutions like Avodemia, which provides avocado farming training, have contributed to the increase in avocado production in Nyeri.
Also, Read; Avocado Farming in East Africa
3. Kisii County
This county is also Famously known as banana land”, one of the top avocado-producing counties in Kenya. The county is endowed with a favorable tropical climate for fruit growth. The main avocado growing areas in Kisii county include Hass and Fuerte varieties.
Like Murang’a county, the county government in Kisii fully supports avocado farming in this region and has put mechanisms in place to ensure that farmers get quality planting materials and extension services. A good example is when the Kisii county government signed MOUs with companies that created employment opportunities for the locals. This also added value to the avocado fruits produced in the region.
The formation and registration of Kisii County Avocado Cooperative in every sub-county is another way the government promotes avocado production in this region. The cooperative will help small-scale farmers to get a ready market for their produce, eradicate exploitation from intermediaries, and improve their living standards.
4. Machakos County
Machakos county is located in the southeastern part of Kenya. The county has a tropical climate which is perfect for avocado growing. Temperatures in Machakos County range from 18 to 26 degrees Celsius, and the rainfall is about 800 to 1,200 millimeters per year. This is ideal weather for avocado trees to bear fruit. The main producing areas in Machakos County are Kathiani, Makueni, Mua Hills, and Machakos sub-counties.
Support from the local government has positively impacted avocado production in Machakos County. The government has provided training to farmers on best practices in avocado farming, as well as giving out free seedlings. The uprising of avocado boards in Machakos has also helped create awareness of the importance of avocado farming and its benefits. As a result, avocado production in Machakos County has increased significantly in recent years.
5. Nandi County
Nandi County is located in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The county has an area of 2,884 square kilometers and a population of 942,581 people. The county is home to two of Kenya’s largest towns: Kapsabet and Eldoret. Nandi county has a climate conducive to agriculture with an annual rainfall of 1,000-1,500mm and temperatures ranging from 20 to 27 degrees Celsius.
In recent years, the home to international athletes has grown into an avocado-producing strong hold- all thanks to its county government. In 2020, the county government devised a plan to construct a packhouse that would enable small-scale avocado farmers to add value to their products.
The terms of the deal included the company buying avocados from farmers at standardized prices. This was a good relief for farmers, who no longer had to struggle to market their products. The company also provides extension services to the farmers through training on good agricultural practices.
Growing avocados in Kenya is a lucrative venture. The fruit’s high demand locally and internationally has made it one of the most profitable crops in the country. If you’re considering starting an avocado farm, the counties mentioned above are the best places to consider.
However, these options should not hold you back from growing avocados in Kenya. With the right conditions, care, and partners like Avodemia limited, you can successfully grow avocados anywhere in the country. We hope this article has been helpful. Feel free to leave comments below. Happy farming!