Farmer 101: Holy guacemole! Growing avos worth a try

Given the global demand, more and more South African farmers are producing avos. Here's everything you need to know about growing these sought-after fruits

There are a million reasons why you should take a serious look into the production of avos. No really! The industry in South Africa is growing at a rapid rate with over 15 439 hectares planted in the country.

The fruit traditionally concentrated in the warm subtropical areas of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, are now also being produced in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and the Western Cape. This is of course thanks to growing global demand and to produce year-round.

In a recent recent episode of Food For Mzansi’s weekly Gather To Grow interactive discussion on Twitter, experts in the industry unpacked what exactly it takes to grow avos in South Africa.

Experts included Lauren Strever from the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit Estate and Nursery, Micheal Muller from the Muller Familie Boerdery Trust, and Stephen Mantsho from the South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA).

According to Mantsho, in the past few years, the country has seen a positive increase in avo production. “A lot of farmers have planted new trees, a lot of farmers are [also] introducing new technology, which are good for production and the environment,” he said.

Where to get trees

Where to source plants and growing avos commercially, was also discussed.

Muller emphasised to listeners that if they intend to grow on a commercial scale, it is important that they acquire the trees from a commercial nursery.

Avocados are mainly grown in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

He explained that farmers need to be patient in growing this commodity.

“When a fruit tree is acquired, it is already more or less one year old. Once planted, within twelve months, the little tree might push its first little flowers.

“Of those, there might be the first setting of fruit. The year after that, that tree will have its first few, maybe five fruits,” he said.

This does, however, depend on the type of avocado cultivar used. Some cultivars are more reproductive than others, Muller said.

Strever echoed Muller’s sentiments, adding that sourcing the correct cultivar and plant material is important if a farmers wants to end up with a superior tree.

“It’s not an easy thing to produce, especially on mass, which is why it’s important to source your trees from a commercial nursery,” she said.

In the session, experts also unpacked:

ALSO READ: All you need to know about growing avocados

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