The avocado, a tree likely originating from south-central Mexico, is classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado, is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed
Avocado produces twice in a year, the first season is the longest and produces 70% of total yields. Yield estimates are conducted before the beginning of the buying season and it is based on an overtime study of average per tree production in Kenya which remains similar and is also highly dependent on the age of the tree.
Avocados are harvested with hand-held poles and baskets. Fruits are picked when mature but still hard. Determining when to harvest avocados will be based on oil tests to ascertain the maturity levels done before the onset of harvesting.
There are many avocado cultivars grown in Kenya but the main varieties are local breeds, Fuerte and Hass. Fuerte is green-skinned when ripe and is mostly oval-shaped. Hass is medium-sized and rounded and the skin turns to color purple on ripening.
Fuerte: this fruit is pear-shaped and is sweet to taste. Its skin is green in color whereas it is creamy to pale green inside. It mostly grows to a large or medium size. This variety of avocado remains green even when ripe but yields to pressure.
Hass: This variety is round in shape. It is easily recognized by its skin which turns purple when ripe. Its flesh is creamy in color. When ripe the fruits yield to pressure. This variety is becoming increasingly most popular in the export market, due to its stable shelf life, oil content, and other related aesthetics.
Baobantu seeks to promote the growth of Hass variety, in line with its international market preference. The company’s agronomy department focuses on supporting farmers to adopt sustainable farming methods on their general farms, better orchard management in terms of crop nutrition, pests, and disease management, thinning, and pruning. Sharing of in-house knowledge for crop establishment (nurseries) and general crop care will be encouraged amongst the farmers.
Baobantu Naturals partners and supports the smallholder farmers through formalized trading arrangements.