Expanding markets, boosting quality and incomes

Rungwe Avocado Company (RAC) is a grower and exporter that has led the development of the avocado industry in Rungwe since its founding in 2009.

With an eye on growing markets in Europe, RAC has been making big investments in order to bring avocado production up to international standards. The company provides inputs, extension services and a purchasing commitment to its smallholder suppliers, and has built a state-of-the-art pack shed and processing system as well as developing an irrigated commercial ‘hub’ farm.

The Challenges

While demand for avocados has increased dramatically, smallholder farmers in Rungwe have been unable to take full advantage of this opportunity. Operating without sufficient resources and affordable quality inputs like fertilisers and biocontrol agents, outgrowers suffer from high export rejection rates – roughly 50% of their produce does not make it to market. Combined with complex land rights, red tape, and the challenges of meeting global good agricultural practices (GAP) standards for export, Rungwe’s farmers face many hurdles that can be expensive and risky to overcome.

Our Approach

RAC is determined to dismantle barriers for its outgrowers, improve yields, and reduce export rejection rates. In partnership with the SDU, RAC is expanding its extension services so as to provide a comprehensive package of training and support to its outgrowers. Field days and training videos are being used to showcase new techniques for cultivation, harvesting and packing. New IT solutions are now used to ensure traceability of the crop, with the goal that 75% of avocados procured from smallholder farmers from 2018 onwards should be of export quality.

Social Impact
Stronger Communities
Training and expanded extension services will build farmers’ skills and showcase new growing techniques.
Increased income / yields
Farmers will see a 20% increase in yield and receive premium export prices, double the local selling price.
Value of Partnership
Over three years, 4,200 RAC-contracted farmers are expected to see their average household incomes rise by at least $70 per year.
Women and young people will be encouraged to participate in all aspects of avocado production and marketing through “Farming as a Family Business” training.