The Hass Avocado is one of the most delicious varieties of avocado pear around the world, with a rich creamy flesh and superior taste.
Hass Avocados make up 95 per cent of all the avocados eaten in the United States of America. But, it may interest you to know that the humble Hass is one of the newest varieties of avocado and didn’t even exist before the 1920’s. It is a multibillion dollars tree. Mexico is regarded as major exporter of this fruit in the world. In Africa, Kenya is the highest exporter of Hass Avocado followed by South Africa. Last year, Kenya made about $16 billion from exporting the fruit to Europe, America and other parts of the world.
But, despite abundant water supply, favourable climate, and wide areas of arable land to plant the commodity, coupled with its export potential, the crop is yet to gain ground in Nigeria compared to other African countries that take advantage of Hass Avocado’s affluence like Kenya and South Africa.
Experts believe that Hass Avocado has the potential for fostering Nigeria’s industrial growth if government can encourage farmers especially the smallholder farmers to go into the production of the crop. The fruit also known as “green gold” for the high prices it fetches can generate foreign exchange in large volume annually.
However, Hass avocado trees have high yields compared to other varieties and a mature tree can produce over a million blooms. Most Hass trees bloom twice a year and occasionally there is a third bloom. Hass trees start bearing fruit in three to five years and grow from 15 to 30 feet tall. The lifespan of an average tree is several decades.
Unlike other avocados, which have smooth green skin, the Hass avocado fruit has dark green bumpy skin that darkens as it ripens, eventually reaching a very dark shade that is almost black. Like all avocados, Hass avocados ripen only once they are picked from the tree and they can be left on the tree for several months after the fruit has matured.
When it comes to nutritional content, Hass avocados are higher in fat than other varieties, which gives them a richer taste and smoother, creamier texture. 80 per cent of avocados consumed in the world are Hass Avocados, meaning all other varieties make up only a small proportion of the remaining 20 per cent.
There was also an increasing appetite for Hass avocados due to their flavor and preference among elites. Buyers soon learned that the darker skin did not mean that the fruit was bad, but rather that it was at optimal ripeness and ready to eat.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Executive Director of GoGreen Africa Initiative, Ambassador Adeniyi Bunmi, said Hass Avocado is an economic tree that is going to be around the world for the next 60 to 70 years because the demand is increasing. He said New Zealand, Australia and everybody have been doing Hass Avocado for commercial purpose.
According to him, currently, Kenya is the highest expporter of Hass Avocado in Africa followed by South Africa. He hinted that South Africa used to be the number one, but now, Kenya is number one in Africa.
“The beautiful thing is that the Hass Avocado is produced by small scale farmers. Last year, Kenya made almost billions of dollars from avocado export to Europe, America and some other parts of the world.
“What we came up with is to promote commercialisation of this tree among smallholder farmers and in the next three years, we can also begin to penetrate the international market and I know that in the next 10 years, we should be able to put the map of Nigeria in the list of countries that export Hass Avocado. The beautiful thing is that in Hass avocado, you can also do your perimeter friendly with Macadamia, which is a highly economic tree. Macadamia is also a multibillion dollars exportable product too.”
He said there must be a shift from what Nigerian farmers are doing before to economy tree, adding that these are trees that will grow in almost everywhere in Nigeria.
He explained: “I have been doing training for the past six years. I have been in Mexico, Kenya and South Africa and still undergoing alot to position GoGreen Africa. There are original seedlings in GoGreen Africa because the Hass avocado has to be pure organic before it can meet international market standards.”
He said the tree will begin to fruit in few months, cut the flowers and ready in the next 30 to 36 months and it fruits twice in a year. He added that a farmer can get up to 1,000 fruits per tree in a year.
He maintained that, “one Hass Avocado fruit is sold for N400 in Kenya. You can imagine, if we are selling one per N20 in Nigeria, and you have 1,000 fruits per one tree. 1,000 by N20 will give you almost N20,000 per one tree of Hass Avocado. And you can put 150 trees on an acre and that will give you N3 million.
On the health benefit, Hass Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hass Avocado is also rich in nutrients, healthy for the heart, great for vision, osteoporosis prevention, it prevents cancer, lowers risk of depression, improves digestion, natural detoxification, antimicrobial action, protection from chronic disease, among others.