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Coffee farmers switch to avocado amid global boom - 9 months ago, 6 July 12:37

Reuters

When Steve Mbugua uprooted more than 500 coffee trees on his half-acre farm in Nyeri county eight years ago, his neighbours thought he was making a mistake.

The farmer replaced them with 500 seedlings of Hass avocados - for which there is now huge export demand - and today makes Sh400,000 (nearly $4,000) a year from his harvest.

That is nearly ten times what he earned from coffee.

“I knew I would make money,” he said, particularly as warmer conditions and worsening drought make it harder to grow coffee in some parts of Kenya where it earlier thrived.

Unlike coffee trees, Mbugua said, avocado trees require little maintenance, and their fruit is a good earner.

Coffee prices, on the other hand, have gone the wrong way: the price on global markets dropped from about $2.80 a pound in 2011 to about $1.12 today.

And with coffee harvests also varying in the face of harsher and ...
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