KAKAMEGA – Sisi Village Produce has announced plans to open an Avocado processing plant in Malava, Kakamega County, aiming to add value to the avocado fruit supply chain in the region.
According to Kenya News Agency, the Avocado Ambassador for Sisi Village Produce, the plant will be situated within a private Export Processing Zone (EPZ) that is currently under construction and owned by the organization. This EPZ will not only house the processing plant but also serve as a sorting center where avocados from local farmers will be assessed, with those meeting export standards directed to international markets. Avocados that do not meet export quality will be utilized in the production of various avocado products, including oil.
Karungani, in an interview with KNA, highlighted the organization’s commitment to support local farmers in both cultivation and marketing of avocados. The emphasis is on encouraging the planting of the Hass variety, known for its export value, though other varieties will also be accepted at the EPZ. “We have encouraged farmers to plant as low as 10 seedlings. It is our prayers that farmers plant avocados in large numbers to enhance the chances of this sub county growing economically. We will be having the power to purchase and hence change the perception of this sub county,” he explained.
Maxwell Shamala, the Chairperson of Mumbo Avocado Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited, noted the global demand for the Hass Avocado variety and urged farmers to obtain clean planting materials from Sisi Village Produce. Shamala also projected that the processing plant would significantly bolster the local economy of Malava sub-county, given the international demand for avocado oil in the pharmaceutical industry and culinary sectors.
The conducive climate of Malava Sub County for avocado cultivation was also emphasized by Shamala, who assured farmers of the potential high returns from avocado farming. Additionally, Dan Mwanzo, Chairman of Kakamega Fish Farmers Cooperative Society and an avocado farmer himself, expressed his enthusiasm for the integration of avocado farming, suggesting that diversification into various farming enterprises can enhance farmers’ incomes.
The Horticultural Crops Directorate indicates that the Western Region, where Kakamega is located, is known for producing Fuerte and Hass Avocado varieties, both sought after in the export market. In support of this agricultural venture, the Kakamega County government has allocated Sh10 million for avocado promotion and to assist farmers in accessing clean planting materials.