African countries are producing “green gold” to meet a growing world demand for the avocado – and hoping it will replace coffee as a prime cash crop.
Consumption of avocados has increased more than 400 per cent since 1990 in the United States alone and now nations like Nigeria and Uganda want to share in the potential export gains.
They hope to emulate the likes of Kenya, already in the top 10 list of avocado exporters, which has increased its export revenues from its production of the fruit by a third in the past year.
The push in Africa comes as growers elsewhere, including the likes of Mexico and Chile, face a storm of protest over the environmental impact that the commercial growing of the fruit produces – including water shortages and the destruction of biodiversity.
Scientists, however, believe African avocado farming is more sustainable as it is carried out by smallholders who take advantage of the rain patterns – enhancing its green credentials.
With coffee prices falling in recent years – leaving many farmers who traditionally served that market out of pocket – many see the growing avocado demand as a new way out of poverty.
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