I have read that hass avocado is now the most yearned for fruit by European and western countries buyers. When is the right planting season and how much does it cost to set up an acre?
Musa Isabirye, Iganga
Answer: It is true, this new money-maker has taken the country by storm. Planting must be made at the beginning of the rain season (predicted at end of August). The Hass avocado sometimes marketed as the Bilse avocado is a cultivar of avocado with dark green-colored, bumpy skin. It was first grown and sold by Southern California mail carrier and amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass, who also gave it his name. It has however since spread around the world, to countries as far as Kenya and now Uganda.
If you want to earn extra income from export farming, join the lucrative HASS & FUERTE plantation farming. These two avocado varieties are the most sought after world over, they have a shorter maturity period, all year through harvesting, ready export market. The fruits are smaller and have a rougher skin compared to the common avocado. They do not rot faster compared to ordinary varieties which gives them a longer export life.
Although they are now fairly grown in Kenya especially areas of Muranga, Rwanda and Burundi on a large scale, they are still new in Uganda, although at least 3 extensive farms for example Musubi farm in Mayuge, Wakiso and Mbarara have been set up. There is also a large farmer in Ssembabule. To expand the production capacity in Uganda, some seedling dealers are now producing quality seedlings for other farmers to buy and plant. These are now scattered across the country, including West Nile. Cultivars propagated into seedlings and then planted however while most ordinary varieties take as many as four years to start fruiting, this takes 2 years.
Cost of setting up an acre
The planting pattern is 5×5 metres; however, the farmers are discouraged from applying chicken droppings’ manure. A three-year-old tree can yield 500-600 fruits, while two tons can be harvested from an acre, earning the farmer sh12m per year.
On average, it costs around sh1,280,000 to set up an acre of these trees. This includes buying genuine seedlings at sh7,000 to sh8,000 each. A commercial acre takes at least 160 seedlings. This means that a farmer requires about sh1.2m for seedlings in an acre. Other cost includes digging pits at around sh500 each and covering them at sh300 each.
After three years, each tree can produce as much as 30kg per year. This grows to 80kgs after 5years, 150kg after 7 years and 200kg after 10 years. The tree can last for at least 50 years if well taken care of.