Africa-Press – Rwanda. Officials in the agricultural sector have said that they are targeting to make avocado one of the important crops fetching a good portion of foreign exchange for the country.
Globally, avocado trade is a major export for a number of countries. In 2021, it is estimated that avocado exports totaled $7.27 billion. Countries like Mexico, Peru and the Netherlands are some of the key exporters of avocados. In 2021, their shipments accounted for 71.4 per cent of the worldwide value of avocado exports.
In Africa, Kenya leads in avocado exports (fetching $140.1 million last year), South Africa ($110.5 million), and Morocco ($89.4 million).
According to figures from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), Rwanda’s avocado exports have grown from $1.6million last to $4.5million in 2022. During the same period, the production of the fruit also rose from about 1,000 tons to 2,600, an increase of more than 250 per cent.
Jean Marie Vianney Munyaneza, Emerging Commodities Division Manager at NAEB, says they plan such that in the financial year 2022/2023, the export of avocado will double so that it will fetch between $8 to $9 million.
“We plan that the production of this crop will grow fast so that in the future it will make more contribution to our exports,” he said.
If a double increase in avocado exports happens year-on-year, say for the next three years, the crop can bring in up to $36 million, by 2024/2025.
According to Rwandan avocado exporters, the nutritious and delicious fruit has a good market in foreign countries, and so, they are working to encourage more production locally.
Emmanuel Harerimana, manager of Garden Fresh, a vegetable and fruit exporting company, said: “The harvest we get from the farmers is not enough. We want more. So, we are working with stakeholders and the government to have many farmers get avocado trees for planting.”
Currently, Garden Fresh exports about six tons of avocado per week. But Harerimana, says that if the production increases, exporters can start shipping up to 10 tons or a full container.
Latifa Mugwaneza who ships up to 50 tons per week also says they will put in effort to provide production boosters like fertilisers to farmers so that the production will increase.
Avocado farmers committed to increase production after securing a deal from One Acre Fund-TUBURA to aggregate and export Hass and Fuerte varieties of avocado.
In 2021, One Acre Fund-TUBURA started undertaking a project to aggregate and export Hass and Fuerte avocados from smallholder farmers. In July, Evariste Bagambiki, the Communications Specialist at One Acre Fund-TUBURA indicated that they planned to aggregate 100 metric tons of avocados. One Acre Fund-TUBURA is supporting farmers to produce and deliver good quality avocado seedlings, in addition to guaranteeing a sustainable market.
In general, Rwanda’s agricultural exports increased by 44 per cent to over $640.9 million (over Rwf663 billion) in 2021-2022, from $444.8 million (over Rwf460 billion) in the previous financial year, according to NAEB.
In comparison to the previous fiscal year (2020/2021), vegetables, fruits and flowers accounted for 6.7 per cent of total agro-export revenues as they generated $42.8 million.
Rwanda wants to expand its agricultural export base through commodity diversification as it seeks to generate $1 billion (more than Rwf1 trillion) in annual foreign agricultural revenues by 2024.