Kenya’s farmers are switching coffee and tea for avocados to profit from increasing European demand. Kenya is now the world’s sixth largest exporter of avocados, accounting for 3% of the world’s total. Last year, the country exported 63,000 tons of the fruit, much of which was organically produced. The strong demand from Europe allows export throughout the year. There has been a particularly sharp increase in exports of the Hass variety in recent years.
In Kenya, smallholder farmers grow avocados and sell them on to exporters. Kenya’s temperate climate is well-suited to avocado cultivation, especially in the high altitude area north of Nairobi. Coffee growing is more labour-intensive than avocados production and less profitable. The Kenyan government is also onside, even providing courses to help farmers learn new skills.
Avocado is full of vitamins, fibre and trace elements, making it an increasing staple of European diets.