HomeAvocado: this butter fruit hurts and evens kills people

Avocado: this butter fruit hurts and evens kills people

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Avocado, also known as alligator pear or butter fruit, has become a risky business for some. People are getting hurt or even killed. Here we reveal the darkside of Avocado.

The avocado industry in Kenya has become so profitable that organized criminal gangs have started to attack growers.

This is due to the fact that the fruit from just one tree may pay for a secondary school student’s private tuition for an entire year – up to $600.

With an increased demand for fruit in the United States and Europe, Kenya surpassed South Africa as the continent’s largest avocado exporter last year.

Vigilante organizations are forming to safeguard the crop, dubbed “green gold.”

Every night, people armed with torches, machetes and clubs start their shift to guard the farm and its precious avocados.

It has become dangerous work – and people getting hurt and even killed.

“It was either us or them unfortunately and we had to protect ourselves,” says one of the farm owners, referring to a recent incident in which a suspected avocado thief was killed.

The owner of the property, which is around half an acre in size, claims he has had to take action because he has been a victim of thieves.

“You can fence the entire farm but that won’t stop them,” he adds

“You spend an entire season taking care of your crops, then in a single night all your fruits are stolen in a matter of hours.”

“They’ll still cut it and steal what they want,” says another vigilante who is fixing the fence.

He is concerned about the community’s future, as most people rely on the trade – many work for others with larger farms, and most families also have a few trees of their own.

“If we sleep, our fathers and mothers won’t have a cent,” he says.

Avocados are typically picked between February and October in Kenya, but thieves have begun targeting the immature fruit.

The authorities have enforced an export embargo on avocados from November until the end of January in order to combat the illegal market.

However, it has had little impact on the ground; in fact, farmers in Murang’a County have been forced to harvest early in order to protect their crop from avocado cartels.

Leaving them on the trees invites the robbers to take them.

Some farmers are now have started using Drones and CCTV cameras for additional security.

Although the avocado industry in Kenya is still in its infancy, more and more farmers are deciding to invest in the fruit.

According to the commerce ministry, Kenyan farmers earned $132 million last year by exporting around 10% of the harvested fruit.

“If we ensure quality control, we will definitely reach the heights of the big producers like Peru and Brazil,” says one of the farmer.

“In the next five years, I don’t think many people here will have tea farms. Avocados are the way to go.”

Image Credit: Getty

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