Hass avocado has in recent times taken root as the main income earner for many small holder farmers in various parts of Kenya like, central, Rift Valley, Eastern and some parts of Western. Hass avocado farmers have seen their income improve due to good prices being offered through various cooperatives and Government involvement. In Rift Valley as an example, we have witnessed farmers uprooting maize – the staple crop in the region – to pave way for hass avocado production.
The hass avocado cultivar is the world is most widely grown and exported variety. One of the reasons for the popularity of hass is that it produces high yields of rich fruit with excellent storage and shipping
Hass avocado is a very special fruit and differs from all other fruits because it possesses a high oil and protein content. It is the only fruit known that contains all of the following nutrient elements in high quantity: proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, salt, sugars as carbohydrates and water.
Why you should intercrop hass avocado with fuerte avocado trees and it’s importance
It is recommended to plant atleast 1 fuerte for every 20 seedlings of hass avocados. Growing hass avocados is a delicate balance.
Note that a hass avocado tree produces more than a million flowers in a single flowering period although only about 200-300 proceeds to fruit. Flowers have a single pistil with one carpel and one ovule.
Avocado trees have male and female flowers (type A & type B) which open at different times of the day. Type ‘A’ tree female flowers open and receive pollen in the morning, and are closed in the afternoon.
Hass avocado belongs to type A cultivar while Fuerte is type B, therefore, intercropping the two cultivars will increase the chances of pollination and fruit set. More fruits will thus be produced compared to when each variety is planted alone. Growing type A tree and type B varieties increases the chances of pollination if insect pollinators are available.
Type ‘A’ male flowers are closed in the morning and shed pollen in the afternoon. Type ‘B’ tree female flowers receive pollen in the afternoon and are closed in the morning. Type ‘B’ male flowers shed pollen in the morning and are closed in the afternoon. Therefore type A female and type B male are open at the same time; Type ‘B’ female and type ‘A’ male flowers are open at the same time. Hass avocados type ‘A’ trees.
Commercially the pollinators for Hass are Bacon, Fuerte and Zutano, all type ‘B’ trees.
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While trees can be self-fertile, the yield is better with the correct pollinator.
Avocados need cooler night temperatures to induce flowering, but cold weather at the time of flowering can affect pollination. Whether a tree is seedling grown or grafted will affect fruiting, if a tree is seedling grown it can take longer to set fruit (7-10 years) but if grafted, trees will fruit in 2-3 years.
Hass Avocado Production And Rainy Periods
The yield of hass avocado cultivation depends on numbers of key factors such as the plant age, soil type, soil fertility, climate conditions along with the farm management skills practiced for the cultivation, so the farmers should be encouraged to focus on canopy management.
Agronomical and economically a tree or an orchard of avocado trees should meet two rains for a good development and success of production and productivity. For this reason, the best time to plant an avocado tree is September–October to meet the short rain season. Otherwise, February–March is best to meet the long rain season.
If planted during dry season provide the hass avocado seedlings with irrigation and partial shade. Hass avocado trees can develop flowers during the period from November to February. From the moment a flower develops until it falls of the tree is 15 days, after which it takes 5 months until the fruit is ready to harvest.
A hass avocado tree is normally harvested over a period of one month. Collectors often come back two or three times to harvest the same tree. As hass avocados only start ripening when they are not on the tree, so when harvested, collectors try to harvest the hass avocados as much as possible in the off-season period.
For the early season harvest, flowers set already in November, while for the main season, flowers set between January and March. One avocado tree normally only develops flowers in just one period, but during the field work a farmer was met who had a tree, which developed flowers during different periods of the year. Many farmers obtained seeds from this tree, as they also wanted to have a tree with this special characteristic.
There are also other cases of trees which develop flowers in for example August, which results in harvests in February. Farmers assume that this happens with trees, which have access to year round water sources, for example trees close to wells. As prices for off-season avocados are much higher, farmers are trying to get seedlings with off-season production.
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Hass avocado orchards may be intercropped with other crops such as beans, peas, kale, or cabbage during the first 3-5 years to get economic returns from the land before the trees start bearing or produce economic returns.
Challenges of hass avocado production in Kenya**
Despite the critical role of the hass avocado production contribution to household income and foreign exchange from hass avocado exported. The challenges included pests and diseases, postharvest losses, lack of proper market information, high price of inputs, limited access to resources and/or weak incentives for upgrading, weak vertical and horizontal linkages within the value chain, lack of trust among producers, brokers, and exporters and the introduction of stringent new rules and market standards following increasing consumer concerns about food safety.
The main field management practice for hass avocado cultivation such as mulching, irrigation, fertilization, pruning, and thinning, weeding, pests and diseases control should be always taken into consideration. With these challenges given, the aim of this present study is to analyze the factors
influencing hass avocado production and profitability in Kenya
Where do I get Hass Avocado Seedlings?
This is a question that is so common in Kenya. Over the past years, different companies as well as individuals have invested heavily in the business of selling seedlings. The main reason is because hass avocado fruit demand is rising day by day, hence the demand for seedlings. However, how can a farmer know whether the seedling is of hass variety and not fuerte or any other variety? Well I will tell you frankly that it is not simple, that’s why I would encourage farmers not to buy seedlings by the road side but rather consult and buy from certified groups. If you want genuine Hass Avocado seedlings buy here or by contacting Farmers Trend via +254724559286 or +254790509684 or Fruit Africa via +254752452939