Kisii County to distribute 190,000 avocado seedlings to farmers

County Agriculture Executive Elijah Obwori (in suit) addressing the media from the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

Avocado farmers in Kisii will receive 190,000 seedlings to boost the horticulture sector. 

The farmers are expected to utilise eight hectares in the current planting season. 

The avocado seedlings that were put at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre have been hardened for eight months and are ready for transplanting.

County Agriculture Executive Elijah Obwori said the transition or survival rate of the seedlings is estimated at 95 per cent with an output of 190,000 Hass avocado seedlings. The initial capacity had been projected at 200,000 seedlings. 

"Beneficiary farmers are being recruited and  trained on avocado crop management simultaneously. The seedlings will be distributed on a pro rata basis with each ward getting 4,000 Avocado seedlings," said Obwori.

Micro-Enterprises Support Programme Trust and Agriculture Finance Initiative has supported the training of 400 lead avocado farmers. It is expected that other farmers will learn from lead farmers. 

Obwori said the distribution of seedlings will commence in April and farmers are advised to take advantage of the onset of the rains to plant. 

Hass Avocado Nursery at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

Wilfred Okari, the Chief Officer of the Agriculture Department said locals will buy the seedlings at Sh100 while those from outside will buy at Sh150.

Okari announced that farmers will visit the sub-county Agriculture offices and ward offices for registration. "The field officers will authenticate the locality of the applicant through the subsidised avocado seedling application form which has been developed," he said.

Kisii Agricultural Centre accounts clerk will confirm payment and provide an issue note to the farmer while the seedlings are delivered to the ward offices. 

In June 2022, the county government and Avofresh Processors Limited signed an agreement for the installation of a plant at the Kisii Avocado Factory for processing of avocados and support farmers to get fair prices for The their produce. 

Through the support of the UK Aid’s Sustainable Economic Development Programme (SUED), the company and the county have established collection centres for avocados. 

The firm will process up to 100 tonnes of avocados per day. 

The project involves 269,683 farmers, 648 individuals in the collection and over 100 wholesalers in the avocado value chain. 

Avocado farming in the Gusii region was previously done for subsistence purposes. 

Currently, Kisii County has 34 wholesalers of avocados who export about 80 tonnes per day. 

The factory is expected to process avocado oil that will be used for making cooking oil and cosmetics among other products. 

Okari said the county is keen on improving the production of Hass variety of avocado to 70 per cent and has already distributed 300,000 seedlings to the farmers.