Livestock and Fisheries Chief Administrative Secretary, Lina Jebii Kilimo has called on Pastoralist Communities in the Rift Valley to grow Avocados, a way of minimizing cattle rustling.
Kilimo, while noting Avocado farming will also increase job opportunities for the locals, regretted that banditry had thrived because the perpetrators lacked the knowhow on alternative sources of livelihoods.
Speaking in Rumuruti area, Laikipia West Constituency, when he led a farm tour to Credible Blooms, the CAS called on leaders from arid and semi-arid areas, to organize benchmarking events for farmers to learn from the farm.
She said the farm was a good example for an ordinary farmer as it does not require much mechanization, to grow the fruit noting that there were many rivers in Rift Valley that can be used to irrigate the farms.
Proprietor of Credible Blooms, Mr. Gerald Njenga noted that the 11 hectares of the Hass Variety Avocado crop had employed more than 500 people.
Njenga said that they have approximately 160 plants per acre with a spacing of 4meters between plants. He said that the trees are a year and a half old and were already did our first harvest of about 30 tonnes per acre with the second harvest late this year expected to translate to about 80 tonnes per acre.
Njenga, who also grows flowers for export in the semi-arid area, noted that the Avocado’s cost of production was less than 10 percent that of flowers, with increased production expected as the crop matured.
Laikipia Chief Officer for Agriculture and fisheries, Emily Kioko noted that the Hass Avocado Variety was best suited for export more than other five local varieties available in the county.
She said that they had brought small Holder farmers to learn from this farm noting that the county was paying more attention to Avocado farming.
The Semi-Arid Laikipia West Sub County has seen a number of ranchers venture in Avocado farming on a large scale.