As traders cross from one side of the road to the other hawking their wares to travellers at the Kibunjia junction along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway, one person goes on with her work unnoticed.
Catherine Ng’ang’a, a retired teacher, runs a tree nursery along the road and amid the cacophony, grafts the Fuerte avocado seedlings undeterred, her eyes set on the ultimate price.
Her farm sits on a piece of land that overlooks Molo junction. The farmer specialises on grafting and selling seedlings.
It is a business she has engaged in for the past five years, selling the seedlings to farmers in Nakuru, Bomet, Nyandarua and Bomet.
Catherine, 65, retired as a teacher at Kibunja Primary School in 2014 and decided to go full-steam into farming as a business.
“While I also grow vegetables that I sell to locals, my main agribusiness is selling avocado seedlings,” she says.
She explains that she grafts a Fuerte scion with a rootstock she grows from seeds she buys from markets to form a high-yielding tree.
“I started growing the tree seedlings in 2017 and the first fruit to grow was the avocado because there was a ready market and even now prospects are much brighter.”
With little knowledge about the venture, Catherine sought more information from seedling farmers in Murang’a. She has now mastered the grafting process.
“I buy avocado seeds from the open-air markets, plant them in nylon pots and wait for them to germinate. When they are a foot tall, I do the grafting after getting scions from Fuerte trees.”
The seedlings are ready for planting after four months, she offers. She sells a grafted avocado seedling at Sh200.
“I sell an average of about 40 pieces every week. Many people are now planting the fruits as they seek to reap from the expanding market.”
Her best time comes when the rains start, says the farmer, noting the 2019 October to December rainy season was one of the best.
She has currently employed one worker, she says, adding that sometimes getting Fuerte scions is a challenge as many farmers grow the Hass variety.
According to her, the good thing with avocados is that they support intercropping as long as they are not deep-rooted.