Avocado Varieties and Export Markets for Sustainable Agriculture and Afforestation in Kenya
Agriculture plays a large role in Kenya’s economy, employing more than 40 percent of Kenya’s total population and more than 70 percent of the country’s rural inhabitants. Sustainable agriculture in Kenya can improve crop yields, stimulate the economy and help mitigate climate change. Kenya is implementing a range of programs to increase sustainable agriculture, these are important steps to help the country build a prosperous future for all who live there. Over the years the land being farmed has seen a slow fertility degradation resulting in worsening yields per hectare, however total output have increased due to clearing and expansion. This study was anchored on transaction cost theory. Based on the concept of transaction cost theory, farmers’ participation in the market is constrained by transaction costs incurred during marketing such as information search costs, negotiation costs, monitoring costs, cost of transporting products to market, cost of sorting and grading and cost of harvesting. By adopting literature review based methodology, the study reviewed relevant literature to obtain main themes. The findings revealed that farmers who participate in export markets differ significantly from nonparticipating farmers as they are more experienced and have somewhat larger farms, have received more training, and own more avocado trees of the Hass variety, the type favoured in export markets. The study established that living near a well-functioning avocado farmers’ group is positively associated with participation in export markets and that participation in avocado export markets has positive impacts on incomes, revenues, prices, and labour inputs. The study found that Kenya has over 40 different varieties of Avocado with Hass as the main export variety and Fuerte is preferred for processing. Other commercial varieties identified in Kenya include Keitt, Reed, Booth 8, Simmonds, Pinkerton, Nabal, Puebla, Tonnage, Ettinger, Hayes, G6 and G7.These popular varieties are Hass, Fuerte, and Puebla. The study concludes that agriculture often places significant pressure on natural resources and the environment, as such sustainable agricultural practices are intended to protect the environment, expand the Earth’s natural resource base, and maintain and improve soil fertility. Sustainable agriculture is about increasing profitable farm income, promoting environmental stewardship, enhancing quality of life for farm families and communities and increase production for human food and fiber needs. The study also concludes that the domestic market is the largest source of demand for Kenyan avocados accounting for over 80% of the total production and the rest are exported as fresh fruits or processed and exported as crude oil. Based on the conclusion, the study recommends that for the avocado fruits from Kenya to compete favourably in the global market, efforts must be made to ensure that the factors that affect fruit quality are addressed.
Keywords: Avocado, Variety, Export market, Sustainable, Agriculture, Afforestation.
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