A few months ago, police officers arrested a farmer who had formed a habit of harvesting immature avocados, painting them, and selling them to unsuspecting Kenyans.
Currently, stats show that one in every five avocados on the market in Nairobi was harvested immaturely and perhaps painted to con customers.
Cases of customers purchasing avocados at exorbitant prices are later finding out that they are either immature or rotten have been on the increase not just in Nairobi but across the country.
Avocados have been turned into the “current gold” for Kenyan farmers who are making millions of shillings both locally and through exports to countries such as China and the United States of America.
The harvest of immature avocados is not hurting local customers. There have been cases where Kenyan avocados have been rejected in China and the United States due to immaturity and some farmers painting them.
Most cunning farmers are those who farm in Hass avocados. Most of them, due to impatience and the need to get cash quickly, harvest their immature crops and then paint them with either purple or black colors so that they appear mature and ripen.
Kenya is among the leading countries in the world for Avocado production. The latest stats position Kenya among the top 15 countries globally that produce the most avocados.
Mexico leads the world in avocado production with 2.4 million metric tons in production followed by Colombia with 980,000 metric tons and then Peru with 777,000 metric tons.
Kenya tops Africa as the largest avocado producer in the continent with 417,000 metric tons. Most of the avocados produced in Kenya are for export with most farmers now abandoning other crops and going into avocado farming.
At one time, President William Ruto, then Deputy President, called on farmers in North Rift to abandon growing maize and venture into avocado farming, saying it was the only profitable crop.