The United Kingdom (UK) has rolled out a programme to train avocado farmers in cooperative societies on how to improve avocado farming and increase their earnings.
The programme will be rolled out by the UK’s Urban Economic Development programme in collaboration with Kisii County Government.
Speaking at Agricultural Training Centre during the launch of a 70 tonne-daily avocado oil processing factory, British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot said the factory will utilize locally sourced avocado to process oil for export.
She noted that the fruits will ripen between 7 to 10 days before the oil is extracted.
“The factory will enable farmers to access markets, reduce wastage and sell their produce to reduce post-harvest losses,” Marriott said, adding that the investment project is a partnership between the UK government and Avo Fresh Processors Limited.
Kisii County Governor Simba Arati lauded the UK government for spearheading the project and noted with pride that the factory was the first of its kind in the country.
He assured investors of a conducive business environment, further stressing that funds channelled to the county for development will be utilized and accounted for to benefit residents.
“The county government will supply farmers with one million seedlings to boost avocado production,” the governor promised.
Avo Fresh Processors Ltd Manager David Gitonga said the UK government has played a key role in catalysing this investment by providing expert advice and £469,805 (Ksh79 million) in seed fund support.
He added that the fund was used to buy 9 trucks to ferry avocado from farmers in the county, adding that Avo Fresh has invested £2.10 million (Ksh355 million) in the project.
Gitonga pointed out that the factory has created 95 direct factory jobs and 100 induced jobs, and will work with 1,000 farmers and gradually increase the number to 3,000.
By Emmanuel Gwakoi
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