When it comes to choosing a profitable crop to plant in Kenya, both avocado and coffee are viable options. While avocado farming has gained popularity in recent years, coffee farming has been a significant contributor to the Kenyan economy for a long time. In this article, we will analyze the profitability of these two crops in Kenya.
Profitability of Coffee Farming in Kenya
The Kenyan coffee sector contributes approximately 8% of the total export earnings and provides a source of livelihood for around 700,000 rural households. The country is known for producing high-quality Arabica coffee, which is highly sought after in the global market. The coffee industry in Kenya has experienced cyclical trends over the years, but since 2003, the coffee markets have been on a steady recovery.
Despite the potential for profits in coffee farming, farmers in Kenya face various challenges that affect their productivity and profitability. One of the most significant challenges is low yields. Currently, farms in the country produce an average of 2-3 Kgs per tree, against a potential of over 30 Kgs per tree. Improving yields is the most significant opportunity to improve the profitability of the coffee enterprise in Kenya.
To increase yields, farmers can adopt best management practices, such as fertilization, pruning, pest control, and weed management. Fertilization helps to improve soil fertility, which leads to increased yields. Pruning helps to control the height of the coffee trees, making it easier to harvest the coffee cherries. Pest control helps to prevent crop losses caused by pests such as the coffee berry borer, while weed management helps to reduce competition for nutrients and water.
Another challenge facing coffee farmers in Kenya is the cost of production. The production costs per acre range from Ksh 100,000 to Ksh 140,000, while the gross revenue per acre ranges from Ksh 150,000 to Ksh 200,000. The net income per acre ranges from Ksh 130,000 to Ksh 150,000. The costs of seedlings, irrigation equipment and transplanting are one off.
To improve the profitability of coffee farming in Kenya, farmers can participate in value addition activities such as processing and branding their coffee to command higher prices in the market. They can also participate in fair trade and organic coffee certification programs, which attract premium prices. Additionally, farmers can form groups to take advantage of economies of scale in the production, processing, and marketing of their coffee.
Profitability of Avocado Farming in Kenya
Avocado farming has gained popularity in Kenya due to the high demand for avocados in the international market. The country’s favorable climatic conditions, especially in the central and eastern regions, make it suitable for growing avocados.
The cost of production per acre for avocado farming in Kenya ranges from Ksh 150,000 to Ksh 200,000. Just like coffee, the costs of seedlings, irrigation equipment and transplanting are one off. The gross revenue per acre ranges from Ksh 500,000 to Ksh 1,000,000. The net income per acre ranges from Ksh 300,000 to Ksh 600,000. On average, it takes about three years for avocado trees to start producing fruit. The figures displayed are those of mature hass avocados.
To improve profitability, farmers can participate in value addition activities such as processing and export their own avocados to command higher prices in the market. They can do this by forming farmer groups to take advantage of economies of scale in the production, processing, and marketing of their avocados.
Profitability analysis of coffee vs avocado farming in Kenya
- Both coffee and avocado farming require a one-time investment in seedlings, irrigation equipment and transplanting.
- Avocado farming has a higher gross revenue per acre than coffee farming, ranging from Ksh 500,000 to Ksh 1,000,000 compared to Ksh 150,000 to Ksh 200,000 for coffee.
- Avocado farming also has a higher net income per acre than coffee farming, ranging from Ksh 300,000 to Ksh 600,000 compared to Ksh 130,000 to Ksh 200,000 for coffee.
- Avocado farming takes longer to start producing fruit than coffee farming, about three years compared to two years for coffee.