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Hass Avocado Factory To Employ Over 200 Farmers

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As more Ugandans embrace the growing of Hass Avocado, which is seen as a game changer in the agriculture sector, there is more good news on the way.

The Hass Avocado Co-operative Society (HACS) has announced plans to establish a sh500m extraction factory to add value to the avocado and help minimise losses.

HACS was formed four years ago to improve the production and quality of Hass Avocado.

Planned to be established at Bweyogerere in Wakiso district, the factory is set to create direct jobs for at least 50 staff in the factory and indirectly provide employment to over 200 Hass Avocado farmers.

Daniel Kaweesi, the HACS vice[1]chairperson, said they already have a big market for Hass Avocado across the world with some clients in Europe and the Middle East.

He said they have a demand for Hass Avocado of over 300 tonnes every month.

“We agreed to establish an oil extraction plant within a maximum of one year, to turn the rejected (avocados fruits that cannot be exported) into oil, which is very expensive world over due to its health benefits,” Kaweesi said.

He said this during an event to inaugurate the Hass Avocado Board and confirmation of the appointment of eight members to the board in Nansana municipality, Wakiso last week.

The board, which will serve five years, includes David Balamaze as chairperson, Dr Daniel Nkaada as the secretary and Dr Protazio Begumisa as the treasurer. Other board members are Kennedy Rwabona, Andrew Katumba, Peace Perkins Nanyonga, and Ssentamu Ssewandagi.

Balamaze said they have plans to partner with other organisations, including the Government, so as to set up an irrigation system on every member’s farm in the next two years.

“We want to conduct seminars and study tours on many members’ farms, to teach our farmers best farming practices. We are already partnering with organic farming organisations like the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda to get organically certified. We are also partnering with organic manufacturers of inputs like the Black Gold Bio Fertiliser Company to ensure the availability of organic inputs to our farmers,” Balamaze said.

Conservative estimates show that a farmer can get sh24m from one acre of Hass Avocado, if he/she has 160 plants in that acre with a spacing of 15×15 feet.

Each plant is estimated to give the farmer 60kg of Hass Avocado fruits a year at full maturity.

Balamaze noted that growing of Hass Avocado is a sure deal.

“You can’t compare Hass Avocado to any other simple crop,” he added.

According to him, Hass Avocado is easy to maintain and is an investment that will span for generations with good care.

He said the only challenge was that many farmers use fake seedlings from poor nurseries.

“We advise people to come to us for help in terms of knowledge, seedlings and market,” Balamaze said.

Good leadership

During their annual general meeting, the Hass Avocado Board called for passionate avocado industry members to consider serving on the board to help continue building on the successes of their fi ve-year term.

Balamaze said they have 156 members from all regions of the country, although the organisation is registered in Wakiso.

“The success of Hass Avocado growing will truly depend on the leadership of our board members, who are all industry volunteers. We look forward to working together and supporting the elected board members,” he said.

The board treasurer (Dr Begumisa) assured members of the highest level of integrity in bookkeeping and financial management.

Facts about Hass Avocado

Kennedy Rwabona, a board member and farmer, said Hass Avocado is a dark green-coloured, bumpy skin large-sized fruit weighing between 200 grammes and 300 grammes.

When ripe, its skin becomes dark purplish-black, and yield to gentle pressure.

He said farmers can have two harvest seasons a year and the tree lifespan is approximately 50 years.

When ready to serve, it becomes white-green in the middle part of the inner fruit.

Owing to its taste, size, long shelf life, high-yielding and in some areas, year-round harvest, Rwabona said the Hass Avocado typeis the most commercially popular avocado worldwide.

“Their potential health benefits include improving digestion, decreasing risks of depression and protection against cancer. It is a naturally nutrient-dense food with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, and it is the only fruit that provide a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids,” revealed Rwabona.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are chemically classified as fatty acids containing a single double bond (in contrast to polyunsaturated fatty acids containing two double bonds and saturated fatty acids without double bonds).  

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