Kenyan avocado farmers are celebrating the success of Self Help Africa’s innovative trading initiative, TruTrade, as they’ve seen their incomes growing four-fold in just one year.
Avocados are normally sold on local markets in Kenya for between two and three US cents per fruit, a price which leaves the smallholder farmers who grow the fruit unable to break out of a cycle of poverty. But using TruTrade‘s unique market identification and purchasing system, these farmers are now earning up to 11 cents per fruit.
“We’ve just shipped three containers of organic avocado to a buyer in the Netherlands,” said James Weru, a franchised trader with TruTrade. “Because of the trading finance provided by TruTrade, we’re able to buy in quantities never before experienced in this region and, as a result, tap into the European market for the first time. The three containers of avocado now en route to Amsterdam are valued at just over $100,000 and, once the first container is received and approved, we will start buying from farmers to fill a fourth container. Each container contains about 23,000kgs of fruit and, by buying from 1,300 farmers, we hope to ship up to 10 containers in total to the Netherlands before the season ends in August.”
The typical avocado farmer owns an acre of land and farms an average of 15 avocado trees. The cash income from the fruit harvest pays for food, clothing and school fees throughout the year.
In addition to the benefits to the smallholder farmers, the operation is providing employment to 15 people in a packing facility just outside the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where the avocados are cleaned, graded and packed for shipping.
“This is really ground-breaking work,” added James. “The avocado farmers are clearly thrilled with the prices they’re achieving on European markets. The key to unlocking this deal was organic certification and the presence of TruTrade‘s system. We hope to continue growing this sector in the months and years ahead, with further deals likely on other high-value fruits in the near future.”