By Olayinka Olawale
Amb. Sola Adeniyi, Chief Executive Officer, Avocado Society of Nigeria, on Monday enjoined Nigerian farmers to embark on commercial cultivation of Hass avocado in the country.
Adeniyi said that Hass Avocado was a premium variety fruit currently in high demand in many countries of the world.
According to him, Nigeria is currently not on the list of countries producing avocado for export due to lack of information.
“We have not been planting and cultivating the fruit commercially in this country. What we have is the local pear and it does not have commercial value like Hass Avocado.
“From Mexico, California and South Africa, it has been the top fruit for a longer period before Kenya overtook them.
‘’The beautiful thing about Kenya now is that it is smallholder farmers like you and me that started the cultivation. It is not about having one acre or two acres of land.
“It is about having few in your compound, your farm, and bit by bit, it will expand. Our farmers can make huge returns on the fruit if embraced,” he said.
Adeniyi, who said that the society would embark on sensitization of Nigerians about Hass Avocado, added that the fruit would thrive in Nigeria when cultivated.
He said that the seedlings were currently expensive because of importation, adding it was important for Nigerians to develop an attitude for cultivation and consumption of Hass Avocado.
Adeniyi said the society had established a Hass Avocado nursery in Ogun to make the seedlings available to Nigerian farmers, adding that the first production would be between 10,000 and 100, 000 seedlings.
“What we are talking to the government about is really in the area of seedlings, because the seedlings we are currently planting are imported into this country.
“We are looking at the government helping us to subsidise the seedlings for farmers. An avocado tree can give you up to 1,000 fruits twice a year. It is very lucrative.
“Currently, one Hass Avocado is around N2,000 per seedling but with government support, it can come as low as N1000. But by 2021, we want to make sure it comes to as low as N500.
“In three or four years, we should be able to realise almost I a million nurseries and with this, we can distribute across all the avocado region in Nigeria,” he said.