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KENYA: Coffee beans make room for avocados

Publication date: 9/28/2017
Author: Rudolf Mulderij

The Kenyan company Kakuzi is majority owned by British investor Camellia Plc. Originally, Kakuzi was a sisal plantation which then diversified into coffee production. Coffee was the main activity when Camellia invested money in the company. Over the years, the coffee plants were grubbed up, and they’ve made way for avocados and macadamia nuts. Additionally, the company grows pineapples on a small scale and has activities in forestry and livestock. 

“They saw opportunities to grow other products besides coffee, and that’s why Kakuzi decided to diversify its production,” says Graham McLean, Managing Director Agriculture for Camellia. The international market for coffee became less and less profitable for large commercial growers in Kenya over the years. In general 80 percent of the global coffee production is produced by 25 million smallholder farmers, which sell at any price and thereby make it more difficult for large commercial production. “We’ve phased out coffee, in favour of avocados and macadamias.” The transition was gradual. First the avocado trees were planted, and eventually, the final coffee plants had to make room for the macadamias. “We now have multiple crops at Kakuzi.”

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