KENYA – The multi-Billion Businesses family, Rai family, has strengthened its interests in the agriculture and horticulture sector in Kenya by extending its empire to avocado farming under the Menengai Orchards in Nakuru County as they diversify to fresh produce.

Menengai, owned by businessman Jaswant Rai, is among the fresh produce firms that are eyeing the lucrative Chinese market after Kenya was allowed to export fresh avocado to the Asian nation last year.

The farm is currently growing 380 acres of produce with a long-term plan of extending the acreage to over 600 acres next year.

“We are planning to expand our farm in coming years and we are also looking at incorporating the local community in planting the avocado for export,” said David Jean Louis, a manager at Menengai Orchards.

As an established orchard, he noted that they are sensitizing small-scale farmers on the best practices in growing the avocado so that they can be part of the larger organization growing the fruit.

The firm has also established a packing house that will come in handy for farmers who will grow the fruit.

Mr. Louis said with the opening of more markets and high demand for the Kenyan avocado, the firm is keen to expand the area under production, adding that Kenya’s avocados are tasty and are preferred in the market and everyone is looking for the fruits.

Data from Kenya’s Horticultural Crops Directorate indicate that since August, Kenya’s avocado exports to China have exceeded the 2-million-kg mark, highlighting the importance of the Asian market.

The country earned Sh7 billion from exports of avocados to china in three months to October last year, exceeding the earnings recorded in the first seven months of the year, which was Sh6 billion.

Newton Maina, sales and marketing manager with the Avocado Society of Kenya, pointed out that players in the sector have confidence in the expanded market provided by China’s huge population, which has led to some of the major avocado exporters signing agreements with Chinese wholesalers and retailers.

According to Maina, the agreements are bound to elevate the Kenyan avocado industry by substantially increasing revenue for farmers.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.