The Rapidly Growing Avocado Market In East Africa

There has been a growing consciousness among consumers regarding their health, whose concerns can be met by avocados, a superfood rich in omega and other multi-nutrient qualities. Rich source of monounsaturated acid(Oleic acid is the most abundant; may protect against heart diseases, and diabetes, lower cholesterol and fight inflammation in the body), rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, high in antioxidants, and have many important nutrients some of which are rare in the modern diet e.g. vitamin k, copper, carotenoids, also known to improve eyesight, avocado has lots of fibre and less sugar, very filling and may reduce symptoms of arthritis, known for its anti-aging and moisturizing typical oil for the skin, scalp, and hair

Avocado market trends

There is an expanding food retail business, restaurants and the growing product launches of avocado-based products, including oils, cosmetics, and chocolates have increased the demand for avocados. According to the Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the avocado is expected to become the second-most traded tropical fruit by 2030, after bananas.

Finally, across the world, the most commercially traded varieties include Hass, Fuerte, Ettinger, and Pinkerton Avocados.

The hass plant is far much preferred for its long harvest season and greater yield. The tough skin of the fruit protects the flesh thus fewer fruits are damaged during transportation/shipping.

Hass seedlings are obtained through a horticultural technique (grafting), whereby two plant, tissues/parts are joined together so that they appear to grow as a single plant.

Hass avocado seedlings are normally sold by registered and certified seedling nurseries whereby farmers are guided and trained on how to plant and take care of the seedling after planting.

The plant/tree takes two to three years to bear fruits depending on the time taken in the seedling nursery. The tree normally takes 6-8 years to attain maximum production.

According to a report by QY Research, avocado consumption is expected to keep increasing steadily with the increase in the population.

Furthermore, in 2021, Countries like Colombia and Kenya continued their growth with double digits, with most of their exports predestined for the European market. This trend was expected to remain consistent throughout the 2022 market.

African countries have an important competitive advantage with respect to Latin American countries, due to the closeness to Europe and price competition. In 2021, approximately 76% of avocados were produced in the Americas and 11% in Africa. 9% in Asia and 2% in both Europe and the South Pacific. In Africa, top producers include South Africa at 120,000 tones; Kenya at approximately 80,000 tones, Tanzania and Zimbabwe each produce 5,000 tones and Mozambique at approximately 1,000 tones.

The United States and European Union are expected to remain the most significant global avocado importers, accounting for 40% and 31% of global imports in 2030, respectively. By region, France is the largest avocado-consuming country in the European Union, with one-third of the total avocado supply reported to be consumed out of the home. Most of these countries get at least part of their supply through the Netherlands, the largest importing country of avocados in Europe.

There have been new markets for avocado-producing countries. For instance, in 2022, China allowed avocados from Kenya to enter their market, as the first African country to export fresh avocados to China. In so doing, importers and consumers can leverage increasing global production while the producers and exporters take advantage of the burgeoning demand and lucrative markets.

Avocado prices on the local market

Kenya

Kenya offers a favorable climate to grow avocados with many farmers investing in the Hass variety for export, which tolerates different rainfall conditions and diseases.

The average price of a kilogram of avocados in Kenya is about Sh30.

Uganda

Avocado exporters in Uganda currently buy at US0.13 dollars (about UGX450-UGX500) per fruit and US0.6 dollars-US0.8 dollars (about UGX2,000-UGX2,800) per kg.

The price of Ugandan avocados in the European markets is US2 dollars (about UGX7,000) per kg. Avocados from Uganda in the  UAE markets are selling at between UGX10,000 and UGX15,000 per kg.

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