KNA Avocado farmers in Nakuru County are alarmed by diseases ravaging their avocados just as they were about to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
A leading avocado farmer and exporter, David Nyagah said there was an urgent need for management of the emerging avocado diseases, before they destroy more trees.
Nyaga said as an entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of persuading farmers to grow the fruit, he shares their deep pain.
Speaking to KNA at the county offices Wednesday, Nyaga said some mites were causing brown spots on the avocado fruits and leaves, making the latter to start falling off.
He noted that the other disease was fungal that caused the roots to wilt and the avocado tree to dry off eventually.
However, he said avocado diseases were manageable if the soil was first tested before planting and by ensuring that the seedlings are sourced from recommended nurseries that follow the hygiene procedures.
In addition, grafted fruits were doing better especially those sourced from the Kisii county.
At the same time, Nyaga lamented that most of the avocados grown in that county were not the preferred type for the international market, despite them being more disease resistant.
However, he said the export business has been doing well for avocados, especially the Hass and Fuerte type that have a wide-ranging market worldwide and just a few trees have the capacity of changing the lives of families.
The acting county director for agriculture Fredrick Owino said they are aware of the avocado diseases and everything was being done to manage them, but he encouraged farmers to only source for seedlings from certified nurseries.