In the past ten years, global consumption of avocados has increased by more than 400% per capita. Latin American countries have always been leading producers and exporters of avocado, but one continent is catching up: Africa.
Avocado farming in Africa is growing at a fast pace, producing Hass, one of the best avocado varieties in the world. More and more small farmers in Africa have been either completely switching to cultivating this fruit or adding it to their normal crops. Why has avocado farming become so popular in Africa, and how do African countries profit from this boom? Find out in this post.
Global avocado market overview
According to the data from Robobank’s research division, the global avocado market was worth $18 billion in 2022. Since 2012, global avocado production has shown stable growth and expanded at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of about 7%.
Mexico, Chile, and Peru are the main producers of avocado. Mexico takes up about 30% of the market and exported over a million metric tons of the fruit in 2022. As for the African countries, at least three of them have made it to the top 10 last year. It’s Kenya, South Africa, and Morocco.
Avocado farming is booming in Africa
Besides Kenya, which is already the third biggest exporter of avocados in the world, avocado farming has been actively expanding in South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. Is avocado farming that profitable? The short answer is yes, but there are actually a number of reasons why many African farmers turn to cultivating the fruit.
The first reason lies within the features of avocado farming itself. An avocado tree lives for about 50 years and bears fruit for almost the entirety of its lifespan. On average, a five-year-old avocado tree can produce about 3000 fruits, which amounts to 500 kilos of avocados. Meanwhile, the average life expectancy, for example, in Uganda is 60 years, so a farmer can profit from the trees planted just once during his whole life.
Also, some regions on the African continent are just perfect for avocado farming. In our minds, Africa is usually associated with scorching heat and dry deserts, but there are places that get enough rainfall to sustain very water-dependent avocado trees. Among them are the central part and the south of Nigeria and Uganda, and the mountainous regions in the north of Kenya.
Thus, avocado farming in Africa can be more sustainable than in Mexico or Chile, where mass-producing avocado farms are often accused of causing clear water shortages and soil degradation due to the constant need for artificial irrigation. With more consumers becoming concerned with how their food is produced, sustainable African avocados are gaining a bigger market share.
Overall, avocado farming is being supported by governments and independent organizations in Africa because farmers and local communities benefit more from it. Avocados just bring in more money.
How avocado farming helps local communities
In an interview with DW, an agroforestry scientist from Nairoby called avocado a godsend fruit because it provided an alternative to the falling income from coffee farming. In 2019, due to stiff competition between big companies, coffee prices fell dramatically, and farmers’ earnings dropped to their lowest point in 13 years. At the same time, the avocado market was showing stable growth and no significant decrease in prices.
Large avocado farms also create a lot of jobs for the local population. For example, Musubi Farm in Uganda employs over 1,000 people. The farm specifically aims to help alleviate poverty in the region and funds a school and a police station to fight local crimes.
Smaller farmers receive support from the government because of their sustainable farming efforts. Small farms have more control over the trees and require fewer pesticides to fight pests and plant diseases.
There are also some independent organizations that help individual avocado farmers in Africa. For example, a company called Solidaridad helped a 75-year-old farmer and his whole community expand their avocado production by providing education in agronomy and teaching the necessary skills in disease management, selection, and packaging of avocados for the desired markets.
Bringing in foreign investments
Foreign companies also regard avocado farming in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and other African countries as worthy of investment. Below are just a few examples of how avocados attract money to local economies.
In the spring of this year, the agricultural investment group Agris teamed up with an Israeli avocado producer, Granot, aiming to build a 1,000-acre avocado farm in Kenya. They expect to create 2,000 local jobs.
Also in spring, the American government announced a $160 million initiative to expand avocado exports in Kenya. The USAid, through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) project, will supply over 100,000 avocado seedlings to farmers in the west of the country. Increasing production in this region will ensure Kenya’s season starts in January, before Mexico and Peru, and farmers will get better prices for their crops.
Dubai Investment and E20 Investment plan to jointly cultivate 3,750 hectares of land in Angola for rice and avocado crops. They expect to reach a production of 5,500 tons of avocados in 3 years.
Although avocado farming in Africa has its challenges, Hass avocado farming in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, and other states creates opportunities for local communities. It can increase family incomes by providing jobs or even turn small farmers into successful entrepreneurs engaged in foreign trade. Our platform can also help with that for free. Search our B2B Market catalog for the perfect quality African avocados, or join as a seller.