The Kenyan government has been working on how to develop and introduce new technologies to support the growth of the domestic avocado industry. Kenya is ranked the highest producer of avocado in Africa and sixth globally. However, despite all the progress and achievements, this might all be for naught if the biggest challenge and threat to the avocado production of Phytophthora root rot is not addressed. The disease is a limiting factor in avocado production in all varieties, and the pathogen attacks the feeder roots, which can result in the death of the tree.
Dr Ruth Amata, Senior Research Officer from the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (KALRO), said that the disease, which is normally in the soil, kills the roots of avocado trees, and this is dangerous. “This is the most serious disease of avocado world-wide, kills trees at any age, and can seriously affect new plantings or seedlings with the progressive loss of trees, making orchards uneconomic,” she said.
Dr Amata added that as a result of this, the farmers end up progressively losing trees by trees, reducing the yield per acre greatly.