KENYA- Kenya has launched a Kes355 million (US$2.62 million) avocado oil extraction factory in Kisii county, with a processing capacity of 70 tonnes of avocado daily.
The British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott, and Kisii County Governor, Simba Arati, commissioned the company.
The investment facilitated the building of the logistical framework to augment fruit collection in the county, including the purchase of nine trucks to transport the fruits across the county.
The facility will be operated by Avofresh Processors Limited, working with around 1000 farmers and creating 95 direct factory jobs and 100 induced jobs in the first year, according to the AvoFresh Project Manager, Mr. David Gitonga.
Avofresh signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kisii County Government in June 2022, and the commission of the extraction facility is a huge step towards boosting avocado oil extraction in Kenya.
Ms. Marriott said the project is a partnership between the UK Government, which injected a Kes79 million seed fund, and AvoFresh Processors Limited, implemented by the UK’s Sustainable Urban Economic Development Programme (SUED) in collaboration with Kisii County and the municipality.
“The commissioning of this facility is a demonstration that, by working in partnership, it is possible to come up with real opportunities and empower our people to cope with daily challenges,” she added.
The factory will ease farmers’ access to markets and reduce the post-harvest loss from a lack of ready markets.
The extraction yield will range between 4-10 percent, depending on the varieties of fruits supplied as raw materials.
Additionally, the project will provide the necessary training and capacity building on better farming methods to increase yields.
According to Mr. Arati, the project is the first agro-processing factory in the county, noting that agriculture is the mainstay for over 80 percent of Kisii County residents.
“We convey our gratitude to the British government for selecting Kisii Municipality among the top 12 fast-growing municipalities in Kenya where it is implementing the Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) programme,” Arati added.
The governor said he would distribute Hass seedlings to farmers to increase production of the Hass variety.
“We have already completed the procurement processes for our first phase of this programme and soon our farmers will be receiving the seedlings,” said the governor.
Mr. Gitonga noted that the Kisii County Government is providing legislative and political support to ensure that Avofresh has a conducive business environment to enable them to operate efficiently.
“The UK government support, both technical and financial, has enabled us to reach many farmers across the county. We are happy to see the facility work and serve the farmers as envisioned,” he commented.
The county and municipality have sensitized farmers to plant more avocado trees to guarantee the availability of raw materials.
Mr. Gitonga noted that the county had already supplied more than 120,000 Hass seedlings to farmers and is leasing a warehouse to Avofresh on its land at Agricultural Training Centre, where the extraction facility is. also located.