There is no doubt about agriculture’s promise for the prosperity of the African continent. According to market researchers, agricultural investments have been the best performing investments over the past fees and in the near future.
However, the agricultural sector is home to various niches, enough to spoil you for choice. What’s the best agricultural subsector option to venture in today, and what does it take to manage a successful Avocado farm business in Ghana?
Avocado farming can be your best bet if you want a tried and tested option to channel your agricultural entrepreneurial efforts. The avocado fruit has become a superfood with benefits ranging from nutrition to wellness and beauty.
And the demand for this superfood is fuelled by different motives beyond nutrition. Therefore, your aspiration to venture into avocado farming is more than valid.
Before I delve into the contents of this article, here is one important thing to know. My name is Joanna, I’m an estate agent here at Sundance Ghana Estates. If you need more information buying land or buying a property in Ghana or want to drowse through available farm land for sale in Ghana, the staff here at Sundance Ghana Estates can help. Feel free to contact me on Whatsapp on 00233201924859. You can also join our Facebook group here.
Here is an in-depth guide on how to start an avocado farming business in Ghana.
An overview of the avocado industry
Avocado has grown from an ‘exotic fruit’ into a mainstay on menus and nutrition conversations worldwide. Today, it’s one of the most highly demanded fruits in the world, especially as healthy eating conversations grow in traction.
The global avocado market reported 12 billion dollars in sales revenue in 2012. Market researchers predict the figure to increase to 23 billion dollars by the end of 2027. Studies indicate that demand for ready-to-eat and healthy foods across Europe has doubled.
There are various factors fuelling the increasing demand for avocado worldwide. Firstly, the Avocado tree has numerous health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
Avocados have the highest source of protein among all fruits and contain a significantly high amount of potassium nutrients per serving. They are also rich in dietary fiber and contain a wide range of vitamins, including vitamins K, C, and E.
Nutritionists recommend avocado as a nutrient booster to help absorb fat-soluble nutrients. Most varieties of the avocado plant, especially the darker ones, have high oil and water contents, second only to olives. However, the green+skinned pear varieties have relatively less fat and can be good for people with high cholesterol.
Another factor influencing the increasing growth of avocado farming worldwide is the possibility to intercrop the avocado trees with other plants like coffee and plantains, giving farmers more diversity and an opportunity to manage risks.
Ghana has quite an avocado history, with many accounts indicating that missionaries first introduced it into the country during its pre-colonial era. Records show that Ghana’s first large-scale planting of avocadoes began in Aburi around 1870.
Today, different cultivars of Avocados like Lula, Choquette, Ettinger, and Fuerte are widespread throughout the country’s forest regions. In the next section, we look at the impact of avocado farming on Ghana’s economy.
Impact of avocado farming on the Ghanaian Economy
The Food and Agriculture Agency established that agriculture contributes to 54 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It provides over 90 percent of the country’s food needs and accounts for 40 percent of its total export earnings.
Ghana’s export-oriented agriculture has grown strongly over the past few years. According to Statista, Ghana exported agricultural products worth over three billion dollars in 2020. A huge part of Ghana’s agriculture-led foreign exchange growth depends on the growth of export-friendly plants like avocado.
Ghana is home to all three avocado races: Mexican, West Indian, and Guatemalan. The Guatemalan race of avocados is thin and delicate, unlike the smooth and leathery Mexican race options. The west Indian ones are thin to medium in thickness. All these options give consumers multiple flavors, from mild to rich, which are suitable for different foreign markets.
Also, Ghanaian avocados are available all year round, indicating that Ghana can be a reliable stakeholder in the international avocado markets. However, studies show that most of Ghana’s avocado farmers are smallholders and home gardeners.
Several efforts are underway to popularize avocado farming in the country. In 2018, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority announced its funding search to facilitate its avocado fruits for export project.
The country seeks to become a huge avocado exporter. And the fund aims to establish a 500-hectare Avocado farm with a ten billion dollar annual revenue target.
The country has started to experience significant strides in its Avocado industry. Businesses, like Akuapem Gold, created on the foundation of the government’s ‘one district, one factory initiative, have developed a two-acre avocado nursery in the Eastern Region.
It is said to be the largest in West Africa, with a capacity to produce over a hundred tonnes of avocado oil and about four hundred tonnes of fresh avocado fruits daily. It is currently nursing 1.5 million avocado seedlings for its farms, leveraging the harvest for fresh produce and oil experts.
Steps to start an avocado business in Ghana
Avocado farming is booming in Ghana, and aligning yourself with this fast growth as an agricultural entrepreneur can never be a miss. However, just like every business, you need to perform your due diligence. So here are a few steps to start an avocado business in Ghana.
Set Business Goals
Establish your business goals. What are you in the trade for? What part of the agricultural value chain would you want to exist? These are a few questions that can help tease out your goals.
Not everyone has the passion for going into direct avocado farming. For such a person, a suitable goal will be to create a system partnering with local farmers where you act as the collector and seller of the farm produce.
For the most part, such a strategy can also be cost-effective for new entrants. You can decide to focus solely on avocado processing, where your business helps farmers to turn the raw produce into oils and other essential avocado products.
Whatever your plan is, it’s crucial to note them down in the form of smart and actionable goals for easier execution.
Research the market
Many entrepreneurs swallow the huge financial projections and venture into the avocado farming world without specific knowledge about how their business can penetrate the market. Don’t fall into that trap.
As the industry becomes popular in Ghana, so does competition increases. And imagine your private entity competing with a government-backed avocado farm with all the tools to be successful in the trade.
That’s why it’s crucial to research the market, matching broad opportunities to the local realities in your area. That way, you can use competitive analysis to understand the void in the market and how your business can become profitable by filling that void.
It pays to also research your value chain and understand the different actors and how they act. Leverage customer behaviors and economic trends for well-tailored strategies to execute your goals.
Draft a Business Plan
This step is crucial, especially if you plan on seeking external financing for your avocado business idea. Commercial agriculture can be expensive, especially if you want to compete in foreign markets.
And there are numerous shocks you may experience during yield that can make your idea unattractive to investors. Enter your business plan. A detailed plan can help you unsettle the doubts of potential investors and win their trust. Your business plan shouldn’t only be about sweetened projection figures.
Show your potential investors how you plan to manage major risks like the issue of pests and diseases. Some common avocado farm diseases include root and fruit rot, tree cankers, wilts, blights, etc. Research
Ghanaian case studies of pests like mites, thrips, lave bugs, and caterpillars destroy yield and devise a risk-averse business plan based on that information.
External capital financing can be cumbersome, and there are various types, from angel investor-led series to crowdfunding. Each financing opportunity comes with its perks, but they can all be daunting.
An excellent way to make the financing process for your avocado business manageable is to understand the business financing rule. It all boils down to what your business can offer the market and investors as returns.
Generally, you can expect about 30 to 40 tonnes of avocadoes per acre if you apply the best farming practices. And that should translate to about 4500 to 6000 dollars based on the set farm gate price.
Based on this calculation, you can paint a clearer financial picture to your investors as to how much you need and how you can grow their investments. However, it’s crucial to let your investors know that avocado farming is a long-term business idea rather than a quick fix scheme.
Establish Business Identity and Structure
What are you going to call your avocado business? It’s important you choose a name that gives it a unique identity. Business names can make it hard or easy for customers to find you and help you achieve a significant top-of-mind recall.
Choosing a specific business structure can impact taxes and personal liability. It’s also crucial to determine your business structure after your financing phase since some investors can make demands of your business structure to help them maintain enough control over their investments.
Consult an attorney to help choose the best business structure for your avocado business.
Prepare the land
Now that your business has an identity, you’re clearer about your sources of capital and have researched your local market. That sounds like game time.
If your business is to go directly into farming, you can begin scouting the site and preparing it for planting. Avocadoes perform excellently in well-drained soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Avocado farming also requires well-distributed rainfall of 1000mm per annum.
Other important factors to consider when selecting the site for your avocado farming business include permeability, soil depth, and land use capability.
Identify the right cultivar to plant
Open field cultivation is the most common planting method for avocadoes. It involves growing trees on an open farm since the growth patterns of avocado are not usually feasible with the use of greenhouse systems.
Another important activity to undertake after preparing your land is to determine the type of avocado cultivar to use. Each cultivar has its pros and cons. For instance, has avocado variety takes about three to four years to mature.
Apart from the fact that they take the shortest period to mature, farmers can also harvest about a thousand fruits from a single tree. These avocado trees can last for many decades and guarantee significant returns over the long term.
The only drawback of the Hass cultivar is that it demands significant post-harvest care.
Market your business and products
The next step after planting is to hatch a full-poof marketing plan to sell your harvest.
You’d have an easier run marketing your harvest if you did a good job with your marketing research at the early stages of your business setup.
Another factor you should factor into marketing your harvest is to produce the quality your target market demands to stand competition when your products hit the market.
Steps to register an avocado business in Ghana
Registering your business has become easier today as the sole entity responsible for the process mans a responsive website via which the entire process can be done.
Avocado farmers who aren’t sure of their registration details can opt to serve the name of their businesses as they hope to begin the registration process. Here are some simple steps to register an avocado business in Ghana.
Visit the registrar general’s department office and pick a suitable business registration form based on your business’s structure. You can fill out the form online via the Registrar General Department’s website or submit it at the department’s office.
You’ll be required to pay a fixed charge depending on the form you pick. Note that you may pay extra for the printed copy of the registration form. After submitting the form, you’ll wait for two to three weeks for your certificate, which is the last stage of the registration process.
If you’re a farm business, you may have to seek permission from your community’s agricultural officer.
Generally, avocado farming is on the rise, and Ghana is shaping up to be a promising destination to join talk of South Africa and Kenya as the topmost producers of avocado for the foreign market. This article can be a great guide if you are aspiring to venture into the avocado trade. Dont hesitate to share the article; we’d love to read your comments.
How Much Can You Make From Your Avocado Farm?
There is no hard and fast answer to this question. Many factors, including differences in farm gate prices, farm size, and harvest quality, come to play. All things being the same, you’re like to make 4500 to 6000 dollars per acre with a farm gate price of 0.15 dollars per kilogram.
What are some of the major risks in Avocado Farming?
Avocado farmers face various challenges in growing their businesses. So of the major risks, you should expect to include the increasingly high cost of participating in competing in foreign markets. An excellent way to water down this risk is to enroll in the government’s export initiative or complement sales with local market strategies.
Where in Ghana should I start my avocado farm?
Avocado does well in many parts of Ghana, especially the forest areas. The soil should have high amounts of organic matter. You can boost the soil’s organic content by supplementing it with manure on topsoil and in the holes during transplanting. Ensure that your farm site isn’t vulnerable to strong winds since the avocado plant can be soft and brittle in its early stages.
How often do avocado farmers make losses?
Studies show that avocado farmers incur about 40 percent of losses during post-harvest handling. Ghanaian avocado farmers have experienced various setbacks over the years due to the lack of research on genetic diversity. The lack of reliable local markets, low prices, and poor transport also contributes to high cases of post-harvest losses among avocado farmers.
Is there a future for avocado farming in Ghana?
Avocado farming has gained widespread traction across Africa, with many nicknaming the fruit green gold. Ghana is no exception. The country has been predicted to compete with top African avocado producers like Kenya and South Africa for the insatiable European market in the near future.