I’m Philip, my professional background is in Foods & Nutrition which I plan to use in my project of adding value to avocados to reduce wastage.
Budget Breakdown (approx)
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Recently I did accompany a colleague to an avocado pre-processing facility in Nairobi for waxing and packaging of avocado fruits for onward transit to an export market overseas. These fruits had been sourced from a farm deep in rural Muranga County. What I witnessed in the pre-processing facility was an eye-opener. Their yard was literally littered with mounds of avocado fruit. These fruits ostensibly did not meet the stringent export quality cut. What was amazing and shocking was that most of these so called ‘rejects’ had only minimal physical defects such as skin scratches, crooked stocks or had a slightly purplish hue(the color of a ripened Hass avocado fruit). Otherwise, they were as wholesome and nutritious as the ones qualifying for the shipment to Middle East and Europe. Due to the large numbers of agents pre-processing and sorting fruits at this particular facility, the ‘rejects’ were quickly mounding from small hills to mountains. To cover for these losses the agents normally pay a dismal price at the farm gate of smallholder farmers. This situation got me thinking and pondering for a solution. It is an unacceptable blatant waste of a precious commodity that needed to be fixed.
I am trained in Foods & Nutrition and that background largely informed my proposed intervention both for mopping up the so-called rejects from the many pre-processing facilities around the airport in Nairobi and for the many fruits that are often times left with the farmers once they do not meet the set out requirements for export.
For starters, the avocado fruit has a stellar and unrivaled nutritional profile. This super fruit is generously loaded with numerous absolutely critical nutrients. It contains 13 vitamins essential for optimal body functions as well as providing critical constituents of enzymes and co-enzymes.
The fruit is also a rich source of potassium that is important in regulating blood pressure as well as for maintaining proper heart rhythm. It houses polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids which checks and buffers cholesterol. The avocado fruit got the important anti-ageing agent lutein that help maintain a supple and glowing skin and it has excellent satiety properties.
These numerous nutritional and health benefits makes avocado the true natural choice for futuristic Agro-food enterprises. Due to the prevailing unfolding in global health consciousness, nutritious food products are in high demand and this demand will continue to spike exponentially in the coming years. Many farmers are opting for the crop so the future supply is guaranteed.
It occurred to me then that the solution lied in processing of the avocado fruit to products that can be easily marketed to the ordinary consumer in Kenya. This has not hitherto happened and yet there are many products that can be derived from this wonderful fruit.
The avocado fruit has several products derivatives demanded by consumers. Avocado salad, avocado paste (guacamole), avocado oil, and avocado facial scrub (from the seed rind) and avocado cosmetic soaps. In the fullness of time I would like to focus on the entire avocado derivatives spectrum but for the purpose of beginning I will prioritize and focus on avocado paste or guacamole. Avocado paste aka guacamole will be prepared through the pulping and spicing of the avocado fruit flesh. This paste will be packaged in nicely labeled polystyrene containers or sachets/tubes. This will then be distributed to individual consumers through direct sales, neighborhood stores, supermarkets, student hostels backyard shops, hospital annexes and others. The second packaging module involves pulping the avocado flesh and pouring it out into miniature food-grade barrels for onward supply to trendy restaurants, meat grilling outlets and customized consumers such as wedding and dowry parties. The paste will be spiced as per the stratum and profile of the targeted end user. Mostly the bulk paste going to identified trendy restaurants will be packaged bland for the restaurant in house chef to spice it in order to meet their clientele tastes and biases.
The fruits will be collected from the pre-processing facilities initially through a pre-arranged agreement where the pricing will be highly discounted (inquiries have already been made). The collected fruits will be delivered in a pack house for processing and packaging.
For easier acceptability by consumers, the packages will be of reasonable volumes weighing no more than 250g/punnet. They will be well labeled indicating all the different nutrient values loaded in each pack. Marketing will be through direct contacts of potential customers, advertisement, demos and flyers.
We intend to commence by processing 3 pickup loads of 3 tons each/week and most of that will go to restaurants, wedding and dowry parties in form of pulped paste in miniature food grade reusable lidded barrels. This quantity is estimated to have a weekly sales turnover of about Ksh 600,000. The business will be located along Kiambu road.