KENYA – Kakuzi Limited, Kenyan agricultural cultivation and manufacture company has announced that it was stopping to grow pineapples this year in favour of avocado business, which the company said helped push profits for the year ended December.

The company revealed the shift in plans when announcing its 2017 financial results, reporting a 5.2% increase in net profit to US$5.56 million, which the firm attributed to higher international macadamia and avocado prices.

Kakuzi Plc, the Nairobi and London Stock Exchange listed company operates three major business segments consisting of Avocados, Tea and Forestry.

The company which in addition to pineapple growing engages in livestock and macadamia business said it was increasing acreage for avocados, with a high global demand and whose returns per acre are much higher than pineapples.

After operating three pineapple farms, the firm is leaving this business which it has operated for over two decades, deemed as the biggest commercial producers of pineapples in the country.

“A decision was taken to discontinue the fresh pineapple operation in favour of planting the area to Pinkerton avocado.

Sales of pineapple will eventually be phased out in 2018,” Kakuzi said in a statement.

The company is focusing on avocado and macadamia business which become choice crops for agricultural firms in the country with Kakuzi joining the bandwagon.

Early this year, the Kenyan government through the directorate of horticulture banned all avocado exports in the country following a severe shortage of popular varieties, Fuerte and Hass, said to be off-season.

Over the years, the company has had more than 200 acres of its own land under pineapple and another 1000 acres under a joint venture with the Kenyan food processing company, Del Monte.

According to Pulse Live Kenya, the firm closed last year with just 60 acres of its land being used to grow pineapple and the partnership with Del Monte is set to be terminated in coming years compared to 1,500 acres of land under avocado from which it harvested 7,282 tonnes of fruit that the firm closed last year with.