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UGANDA BEGINS EXPORT OF AVOCADO OIL TO EUROPE.

UGANDA BEGINS EXPORT OF AVOCADO OIL TO EUROPE.

Hass avocado is one of Uganda’s emerging non-traditional cash crops with enormous potential to contribute not only to the growth of the agricultural sector but increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings, and improve household incomes.

In 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) commenced the implementation of an intervention aimed at scaling up production of Hass avocado to take advantage of the growing, national, regional and international markets. Hass Avocado is currently one of the most highly demanded commodities in the world market.

Through the nucleus farmer model, NAADS has partnered with seven large scale producers of Hass avocado to enable and enhance access to quality planting materials to the small holder farmers /out-growers. Since August 2022, NAADS has distributed over 600,000 Hass avocado seedlings with an estimate of 3,901 established (160 per acre). In season A 2024, NAADS is distributing over 200,000 additional Hass avocado seedlings to farmers across the country.

Government’s intervention to scale up the production of Hass avocado has occasioned the establishment of avocado processing facilities. To date, 5 factories have been established to extract oil from avocado with emphasis on the Hass variety which has more oil content compared to the local varieties. These include Avolio Industries Ltd in Namanve, Njojo Factory in Kyenjojo district, Biosyntec Uganda in Kasese district, Musubi Factory in Buikwe and Balaji Agro Industries Uganda in Nakaseke District.

According to Hassan Al-Kailani, the Managing Partner at Avolio industries ltd, all the 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.

“As avocado processors, we are all still operating below capacity because of insufficient supply of hass avocado which is our preferred variety for extraction of oil. As we wait for Uganda to scale up the production of hass avocado, we have resorted to crushing the local avocados so that our machines do not remain redundant”.

Kenneth Ntegyerize from Balaji Agro Industries says they are currently importing avocados from neighboring Kenya especially the fuerte variety which is second in oil content to hass avocado, as they expand the production of hass.

“Currently, we have planted 300 acres of hass avocado but that is not enough to sustain our machines. Our plan is plant more as Ugandans are also increasing production so that our factories can have enough raw materials to run”, said Ntegyerize

According to Ntegyerize, Balaji Agro Industries has so far exported 6 containers of crude avocado oil with their biggest market in Europe. Each container contains 24,000 liters of crude avocado oil worth over UGX500 million.

Factories take the avocado fruits that fail to meet the specific parameters imposed by the export market which is commonly referred to as Grade two or Grade B.

According to the NAADS Executive Director Dr. Samuel Mugasi, farmers need not to worry about the market for hass avocado because the global market for fresh fruits is too big to satisfy.

“I urge our farmers to maintain the good quality that will be acceptable in the export market, but also those who will not quality should not worry because we have the factories to buy the grade two fruits”.

Commonly referred to as the ‘Green Gold, Hass avocado has a high global demand that was valued at $12.8bn in 2019 and is expected to rise to $17.9bn by 2025.

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