Avocado cooperative seeks to make Acholi a green sub-region

ACHOLI – Gulu Avocado Farmers’ Cooperative Society has embarked on growing Hass Avocado variety; an initiative that will see heavily deforested Acholi sub-region green again and increase income among households.

The Hass Avocado is dark green-colored and has a bumpy skin and a smooth, creamy nutty taste.

It was grown and sold by Southern California mail courier and amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass, who also gave it his name in 1926-1935.

Gulu Avocado Farmers’ Cooperative Society that was registered in 2021, has more than 70 members spread out in Gulu, Amuru, Agago, Lamwo, Nwoya in Acholi sub-region and Lira, Oyam and Amolatar districts in Lango sub-region.

Pastor Gabriel Lajul, the Chairperson told theCooperator that an unknown number of trees are cut down every year to make space for annual food and cash crops in the region.

“We believe that Hass Avocado is a perennial crop that will bring money into pockets of our farmers and at the same time green the environment,” he said.

Approximately, 4,000 out of 16,000 hectares of forest cover in Acholi sub-region has been depleted since 2016-2019.

According to Our trees we need answers, a pressure group of journalists, researchers and community workers advocating for conservation of trees, majority of the trees are cut down for wood fuel especially charcoal and timber.

Lajul who has planted 5 acres of Hass Avocado in Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district noted that avocado trees could be the solution to unending land conflicts.

“We currently don’t have long lasting landmarks that can help address land conflicts but this can be solved by people planting avocado trees. One can harvest avocado fruits for 50 years if well maintained,” he said.

The group which is positioning itself to join the Hass Avocado export economy like farmers in Kenya, are already investing in learning visits to established farms for farmers to acquire hands on skills to maintain the Hass Avocado trees.

“In 2021, we visited Musubi farm in Mayuge district and will visit another farm in Nakaseke district this month,” Lajul said.

Since it’s difficult for farmers to grow avocado on large acreage of land, the cooperative is sensitizing as many small holder farmers as possible to ensure and strengthen bulking.

Lajul notes that there is available market for avocado considering that much of the fruit is currently supplied by Elgon and West Nile regions.


Alfred Komakech, a member of the production committee of the cooperative who has planted 26 Hass trees in Paicho sub-county, Gulu district says, the challenge they are currently faced with is a poor attitude problem among potential farmers who have tried and failed at other crops.

“People keep complaining that they have tried other crops like chia and ginger only to make losses due to lack of market,” Komakech said.

He said, the Hass Avocado seeds are also costly for ordinary farmers and accordingly called on the government to include it among inputs distributed free of charge under existing programs like Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

In May 2021, the then Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Vincent Ssempijja launched a nationwide avocado-growing campaign.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Hillary Agaba, the Director of Research at the National Forestry Resources Research Institute (NaFORRI), said that Uganda aims to produce a million avocado seedlings over the next 12 months, which will be given out to farmers at a subsidized fee of Shs 5,000.

Health experts say, Hass Avocado is nutritious and contains potassium, heart-healthy acids as well as fibre.


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