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Stakeholders in the Hass Avocado value chain meet to regulate and strengthen the sector

Stakeholders in the Hass Avocado value chain meet to regulate and strengthen the sector

Key players in the development of the Hass avocado value chain in Uganda met in Kampala to deliberate on how to strengthen the infant sector with emphasis on increasing production, regulation, standards and access to market for the high value crop. The meeting which was organised by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), the lead Government agency in promoting the Hass avocado value chain took place at Piato Restaurant on Wednesday 13th February, 2024.

Speaking during the meeting, the Executive Director NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi said Hass avocado has gained great momentum in the past few years with a number of Ugandans joining the out-grower network of hass avocado farmers across the country. He added that, although the industry is still in its infant stages, investors both domestic and foreign have already picked interest and established factories for extraction of avocado oil.

“We already have five fully established factories that extract oil from avocado in different parts of the country. The onus is now on us to mobilize more farmers to plant hass avocado to feed the factories with raw materials and also meet the increasing demand for the fresh fruit in the export market”, said Dr. Mugasi

Dr. Mugasi said although coffee remains as Uganda’s number one export commodity, there is need for farmers to diversify and also tap into the emerging high value crops like hass avocado whose global market is currently valued at over $8 billion, and is projected to reach more than $ 20 billion in 2026. He urged Ugandans to plant more hass avocado whose demanding is increasing both domestically and internationally.

“Most of the established factories are struggling and operating below capacity because there is little avocado for them to process. They are now competing for fresh fruits with our neighbouring countries especially Kenya who are also interested in avocado”, explained Dr. Mugasi

Hasan Kalilani, the CEO of Avolio Industries Uganda Ltd, one of the avocado processors said with low production of hass avocado in Uganda, factories have resorted to processing the local avocado varieties so that they remain in business.

”We prefer to process the hass avocado variety to the local varieties because hass has more oil content and produces very good quality oil which is demanded by our buyers in Europe. However, we have now resorted to processing local varieties with less oil content as we wait for production of hass avocado to increase”, exclaimed Kalilani.

Hasan Kalilani said currently, the existing five factories process 63,000 tonnes of fresh avocado every year which translates into 2.5 million kilograms of crude avocado oil which brings in approximately $11.5 million in foreign exchange every year.

“The value of hass avocado is much more than that of local varieties. If production of hass can increase, this commodity will fetch Uganda more export earnings from both the fresh fruits and avocado oil”, explained Kalilani

Kalilani also implored Government to put in place regulations and standards for the hass avocado sub sector saying absence of these regulations is already affecting the value chain in its infancy. He said without regulations, buyers from neighbouring countries enter Uganda freely and take the fruits denying the local processors the raw materials.

Joy Mukaire, a small holder hass avocado in Busoga region asked government to train extension workers saying the existing experts in hass avocado farming are charging farmers exorbitant fees.

“This crop is still new to most farmers and government extension officers. Most of us made losses in the beginning because we lacked guidance on how to manage hass avocado orchards. The private extension workers area charging us a lot of money which makes the cost of production very high”, exclaimed Mukaire.

The meeting was attended by officials from MAAIF, URA, UNBS, UEPB, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, East African Business Council, International Trade Center Juliet Musoke, national coordinator Markup projector under ITC and EU, 40 MILLION euros Coffee, cocoa and hass and for the 6 countreies in EAC.

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