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Avocado shortage in Meru 




Lovers of the popular avocado fruits are digging deeper into their pockets owing to the shortage of the succulent fruit in most markets within Meru County.
The fruit that is popularly used in making pudding and deserts has become scarce on the market and traders have resorted to overcharging buyers in an effort to cash in more with the rare stocks.
Traders attribute the scarcity on the dry season with others saying the high number of users have outweighed the production of the fruit.
Mama Kendi a fruit vendor within Makutano market in the outskirts of Meru Town said she was spending more to get the fruit for her usual customers.
A large size avocado that cost Sh.20 before the shortage are now retailing at Sh.50 each.
Mama Kendi said the few fruits she sells are not being supplied from the local farmers in the region because they were out of season and the quantity available cannot satisfy the local demands.
A spot check at other fresh fruit markets indicated that mangoes are on high supply and they are selling cheaply.
John Muthomi told KNA that he has been missing his favorite fruit avocado which has become scarce.
“Avocados save me the energy of cooking vegetables since I sometimes serve it with ugali and even rice. My neighborhood within Runogone area has no stall with the fruit,” said Muthomi.
Regular consumers are optimistic that the prices will soon go down since many of the avocado plants were out of season and they have started to fruit.
Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi has promised that his government will distribute avocado seedlings to coffee farmers in the region to offer them an alternative source of income.
The Meru County government is in the process of distributing Hass Avocado seedlings to tea and coffee farmers to offer them an alternative source of income.
According to Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, the initiative will see at least 500,000 seedlings planted by the farmers.
Hass is a fast maturing and highly nutritious species of avocado which the governor said he had struck a ready market for in outside countries. “This type of species grows fast and yields more. It also produces more oil. This program is aimed at boosting farmers’ earnings,” said Kiraitu.
Abothuguchi Central MCA Ayyub Bundi who is regarded a champion of the Avocado farming in the county said the project would boost the production of the fruit that is a darling for many Meru residents.
Bundi noted that those who will benefit from the programme will also receive a boost through connection to irrigation water. “This will also enhance continuous production of the fruit hence steady supply at the local market and international market,” stated the Avocado ambassador.
Avocado plants are known to be less vulnerable to diseases and bad weather hence a lucrative farming activity to venture into.
By Richard Muhambe

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