Avocados in Kenya: What’s holding back smallholder farmers

Kenya is the world’s third largest producer of avocados. It’s also Kenya’s leading fruit export, accounting for nearly one-fifth of its total horticultural exports.

But Kenya only exports 10% of its total avocado production. By comparison, Chile exports 55% and South Africa exports 60%.

Avocado is grown in several parts of Kenya and about 70% of avocado production is by small-scale growers. They grow it for subsistence, local markets, and export purposes.

The avocado export market in Kenya is dominated by five major exporters: Kakuzi, Vegpro, Sunripe, Kenya Horticultural Exporters, and East African Growers. These companies source their avocados primarily from smallholder farmers, although some firms also source from larger growers or own plantations.

Photo credit: Riccardo Gangale/USAID