The expo at Mandela National, Stadium Namboole will run from February 14-16
The neat rows of short avocado trees at Musubi Farm tell the story of an organised farming estate long before one speaks to the owners.
The trees of the now-famous Hass avocado variety sitting on 400 acres are between one and two years old.
Hass avocado farming is worth investing in for those who take farming as a business. It is less risky, low-cost in terms of input, low maintenance and has a ready market worldwide.
The expansive farm has now come on board as one of the sponsors of the Harvest Money Expo.
The expo at Mandela National, Stadium Namboole will run from February 14-16.
Each participant will pay sh10,000 for touring the stalls per day and sh20,000 to attend training sessions each day.
“We are participating in the expo because we believe agro-processing is the engine that will drive this country to the middle-income status,” says Baker Ssengendo, the marketing and communications director for Musubi Farm.
Ssengendo said countries such as Mexico that have long discovered this green gold earned $l2.8b in 2018 from this trade while Kenya made $700m.
“We believe Uganda is better placed for this role and, therefore, should give Mexico a run for its money,” he said.
Ssengendo said farmers who come for the expo should expect a well-detailed analysis of the complete value chain process and all that it takes to effectively manage a successful orchard.
Musubi farm is a private agricultural enterprise on the shores of Lake Victoria in Bukabooli sub-county, Mayuge district.
“The farm sits on 2,500 acres of which 400 acres are under Hass avocado and employs 850 people,” Mustapha Bett, 42, the director says.
The farm was started in 2011, growing sugarcane, mangoes and macadamia. However, in 2018, Hass avocado was introduced.
Bett says the farm is targeting to grow 2,000 acres under the fruit by 2022, adding that the farm intends to expand to 1,600 acres with 32,000 trees after 2022.
Easy to grow
“Hass avocado has a shorter maturity cycle of only two and half years compared to other varieties,” Micheal Gitahi, the farm agronomist, says.
Gitahi explains that a single tree can produce at least 1,000 fruits or 200kg. With a kilogramme going for sh1,520, this means a single tree can earn as much as sh300,000 per year.
He adds that if an acre has 160 trees on it, then that is over sh48m per year.
Bett adds that avocado is the fifth-largest foreign income earner for Uganda among horticultural products, surpassed only by flowers, vanilla, pineapples and bananas.
Hass avocado is a large-sized fruit weighing 200-300g and native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the central and South America.
When ripe, the skin becomes a dark purplish-black and yields to gentle pressure. When ready to serve, it becomes white & green in the middle part of the inner fruit. Owing to its taste, size, shelf life and high yields, it is turning into the most popular avocado variety.
Musubi farm is fairly mechanised with several tractors that plough the soils before planting. To make sure that there is enough water to carry out farming throughout the year, the farm has a big pump that draws water from Lake Victoria.
“This has the ability to pump 250,000 litres of water per hour,” Bett says.
The water is pumped into a reservoir from where it is sprayed on every plant through drip irrigation.