Avocado Farming in India – Guide To Profit

Avocado was introduced to india very late. Though the fruit is very nutritious (up to 4% protein and 30% fat with a wide range of vitamins and minerals) , Avocado is not preferred by indians because of the already existing, wide range of tropical fruits which are sweet in taste. Avocado lacks the sweet taste, is a bit oily to mouth and though nutritious, is not considered palatable to most indians. Unfortunately, this is due to the lack of knowledge about the fruit, though its gaining popularity among the educated. Avocado is rarely consumed in its natural form. ITs either added to or with another ingredient to make it palatable. Sandwiches to icecream have been found to use avocados. Avocados were commonly consumed by mixing sugar and lime to give it a sweet and tangy flavour. They can be simply added with salt and pepper with a spoon of lime juice if you prefer something not sweet. Whatever your tastebuds prefer, avocado can accommodate to it.

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Farming Avocado.

India is suitable for almost all fruits in the world because of its wide range of climatic conditions. Avocado is best suited for tropical and subtropical weathers. The mid to southern india is perfect for cultivation of avocado. Tamil Nadu are perfectly suited for cultivation of Avocado and Sikkim is known to have cultivated and tried a variety of Avocado successfully. People are starting to cultivate avocado in various other states including kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka with some success. 

The key to success of avocado farming comes with the knowledge on its characteristics. There are 3 main varieties of avocado and picking the right characteristic will be the difference between success and failure. Mexican, WestIndies and Guatemalan are 3 widely known characteristics. The mexican characteristics is cold hardy and the fruits weigh between 250 and 300 grams. The Guatemalan is about 600 grams per fruit and is large with the west indian bearing medium sized fruits. 

The varieties are wider in each of these characteristics. The most common varieties grown in india are Fuerte, Hass, Green and Pinkerton. Other varieties include Bacon, Zutano,, Booth 7, Booth 8, Sharwil , Ettinger, Pollock, Waldin, Nabal, Linda, Puebla, Gottfreid & Collins But these are not commonly grown in india. Fuerte is the only one variety which is feasible for commercial growth in india so far. This is primarily because many of the other varieties are not tried in india or are not feasible for the indian conditions.

Avocado Farming, Bees and Climatic change.

Avocado flowers are not fragrant or attractive. Self pollinating is rare in avocado and requires a good condition to make it feasible. Though self pollination through wind is noted, the is dependant on climatic conditions. The male and the female parts of the flower bloom indibepndantly and this makes self pollinating harder in avocados. The pollination of avocado depends on other pollinators which include bees. Due to the unattractive nature of the avocado flowers, its important to place bee hives near the avocado plants to increase pollination. Adding Hives at 5-10 % increases pollination in avocado. 

As far as climate change is considered, Avocado is a resource intensive plant. It require more water than most other trees and being intolerant to water stagnation and susceptible to diseases to root rot, The soil should be wet and dry , not too moist at any point of time. Avocado also requires full sunlight. This contributes to a great deal of deforestation in some areas and water depletion too.  While in general , large scale avocado farming can contribute to climatic change, this is something which requires a  lot more research and small portion of the overall agriculture contributed to avocado has little or no effect in climatic conditions. If you are interested in the climatic change conditions due to avocado farming, Check out the resources .

Soil , Climatic conditions and Water resource for avocado farming

Avocados are intollernt to Saline conditions. They require a PH of 5-7 and they are suitable for tropical and warmer parts. They are not flood tolerant. It cannot tolerate dry cold wind or frost. North indian weather is thus not suitable. Climatically, a humid warm weather, typical of tropical and semitropical conditions are perfect for avocado. It can tolerate some rain during summers and thus kerala and coorg are great conditions for avocado. Coastal areas of kerala should be completely avoided even though the climatic conditions are suitable due to saline nature of the area.

Avocado farming area in india

Avocado is not commercially practised widely in india. The most prominent projects include one in Bhopal which is run privately and one in Tamil nadu which is done by the government. Pilot projects are being run privately and by the government in various states to see if its suitable and which varieties can be cultivated commercially. Most of these projects are still in its infancy and commercial level of farming avocado is still being considered with skepticism. Fortunately most of the results are on the positive side when it comes to pilot projects. Some of the varieties are already being chosen and the chances of these varieties being commercial for local use and even exports are possible and viable.

Avocado grow in india are mostly grown from seed. Unfortunately, these plants do not produce the high quality of fruits commercially cultivated in other parts of the world. The fruits grown from seeds are usually smaller and plants usually produce lesser fruits than those which are grafted. Grafted plants are still being experimented in india. If you can acquire quality grafted avocado plants which are suitable for indian weather, chances are you will be pioneering avocado farming in india.

Avocado is surely profitable in india. As a matter of fact, Avocado is one of the few expensive fruits world wide. The cost of an Avocado in The US is approximately $1 per piece. Thats Rs 75 as of todays rate. The price in india for avocado could range from Rs. 150 to Rs. 250 per piece, depending on season , where you acquire the product and the variety and quality of the fruit. Avocado price in Vadodara,Gujarat if purchased from big Basket, a premium online grocer costs Rs. 299 today (7-Feb- 2021). The price is the same in Mumbai and costs Rs. 306 in Delhi for 2 pieces (comes to 153 Rs per piece in delhi). The variety in Delhi is the local variety while the ones in mumbai and vadodara are imported. You can see the difference in the price between imported and the local varieties. The imported varietes cost double of the local varieties. 

Local varieties of avocados are cheaper because of the large size of the pit(seed) and the quality of the fruit. The flesh is a bit less in the local varieties and the size itself is smaller than the imported varieties of Avocado.  Click To Tweet

Everything said and done, Avocado is one of the few profitable crops you can grow in India, if the conditions are suitable in your area.

Where is avocado Primarily cultivated – Production By country.

In 2018, Mexico produced the most amount of Avocados. They produced 3 times more avocado than the second largest producer in the world, the Dominican republic. Peru and Indonesia came third and fourth respectively as close competitors. The united states stand 8th in the production of Avocado after Kenya which stands at 7th. 

As you may have already realized, the chances of exporting avocado to other parts of the world are nearly impossible from India. The competition is too high and the quality of the fruits in other parts of the world has evolved to be superior. This is no reason to be let down. India is a large country with the second largest population in the world. Even if you have just a 1% consumer base, you have a massive market for avocado. The local produce of avocado will surely be easy to sell and the market will be open. Local produces are also considerably cheaper for the consumer and the margin for the farmers is higher than most other produce. There should be no reason why you should not try to farm avocados. Starting early has a higher chance of profit and lesser competition. 

For a list of all the countries which produce avocados and the quantity they produce, check out the Wikipedia page.

Research indicates that there will be a growth of 6.7% in avocado cultivation from 2017 to 2027 which is nearly 1.8 times the current production. This indicates chance of a price drop globally. There may be more imported avocado over the years at a much cheaper price. The possibility of lower price of avocado locally after 10 years cannot be overlooked. 

Avocado farming training

A lot of people in india are not even aware of the possibilities when it comes to avocado farming. Apart from farmers, even the consumers are not aware of the benefits of avocado as a fruit. Most consumers of avocado come from the upper middle class and the higher classes in india. Unfortunately, this is a very small group in each locality. Making more people aware is the primary objective among most organizations including the indian institute of horticulture and research. Farmers can only grow a produce which has a demand. Creating a demand is the first and primary objective presently. 

ICAR and KVK in Kodagu started with training farm women in the benefits of Avocado and how it can be used as a fruit and a value added food. They introduced various foods including cakes and puddings among them to help them understand the possibilities of Avocado. Avocado market had been low during the monsoons in Kodagu and farmers were finding it difficult to sell their produce locally , even with the limited quantity!

Farmers training are conducted too by various government organizations. Government subsidies have started in a few states and areas. Awareness is slow when it comes to avocado, but surely , avocado is being considered the gold of cash crops in india by some and the possibility of profit seems evident.

Avocado farming areas in india.

Avocado farming has been practised in a small scale in scattered areas in india. Most of the Avocado in india are produced in Tamil Nadu, Sikking  Karnataka and Maharashtra. Most of these states have small localized pockets which grow Avocado. 

Avocado fruit farming in Tamil Nadu

Kodaikanal is one of the major producers of Avocado with over 5 Lakh trees in cultivation currently. Most of the fruits cultivated in this area , Upto 90% are sent to Kerala, the nearby state which is the largest consumer. Kerala has considerably lower production of avocado and a higher consumer rate. The consumers in the Tamil nadu region find the avocado fruit less palatable and only the affluent class of people consider purchasing avocado fruits. The price in Tamil nadu region is approximately 80-100 rs per KG in the market.

In maharashtra, Nasik is the area with the highest avocado production. Bhopal in Madhya pradesh was one of the first pioneering projects for avocado privately and was started by Harshit Godha at https://indoisraelavocado.com/. The project is currently in its pilot stage and seems very promising

Other states which are evolving in avocado farming include punjab , himachal pradesh,  haryana, karnataka, kerala, uttar pradesh,  Rajasthan  ,uttarakhand,  gujarat, odisha and west bengal

Very little information is available on the quantity of the produce and the area of production of avocado in these states. They are either very low or just experimental. Kerala has a lot of avocado grown in many of the houses as individual trees or small clumps but not commercially. Very few owners are willing to take the risk of grown avocado yet due to the market . This could change dramatically over the period of time and in the next few years, the market will be aware of the benefits of avocado with introduction of avocado from importers to various regions.

Fertilizers and pesticides

Avocado is very picky when it comes to location and soil. Soil which are acidic are not suitable for avocado. From time to time, application of calcium is known to reduce acidity in the soil which make the soil feasible for avocado. Calcium is also good to prevent root rot and other fungal disease in the root area. Root rot is one of the major problems with avocado. Avocado is not tolerant to water logging and root rots can become a major problem, often fatal to the plants. Avoiding water logging and building mounds to prevent water loggin in flood prone areas is common practice. Apart from Calcium, Zinc is a common nutrient required for avocado. Too much of zinc could reduce yield and is not recommended. A leaf test analysis is to be conducted before application of any nutrients. A PH test is to be conducted to analyse the acidity of the soil. From time to time. Apart from calcium and Zinc, Nitrogen is the most use and stable form of fertilizer which is required for avocado. Based on the age of the tree, Nitrogen is applied 3 times a year. Urea and water based nitrogen fertilizers which does not increase the acidity of the soil is recommended.

Pesticides are rarely required for avocados in india. With the height of the tree going up t 30 feet or more, its almost impossible for small farmers to apply any form of pesticide to that height. Large equipment are possible to implement in large orchards with lakhs of trees but for a small farmer with 100 or 1000 trees its not considered feasible. Moreover there are few pests in the area if the region is selected well. 

Avocado farming business plan, Economics and Profit

The chances of profiting from Avocado farming is high at the moment. Things may take a completely different turn after a decade or two with more farmers practicing avocado farming. For now its safe to say that avocado farming in india is surely profitable. The amount of fruits imported is far more than the amount of fruits produced in the country. Unfortunately, the quality of the local fruits are not high and is unsuitable for export. If cultivars of high quality fruits can be obtained and if its found to be feasible in indian areas, then chances of profit is very high.

Even with the local variety, Chances are that you will make a good profit. For the price of 100 Rs per KG if you simply take local fruits in consideration, The below are the estimates for Avocado farming.

1st year2nd -40th Year
SeedlingsRs.6000
Rs150 / Plant
40 / Acre
Land PreparationRs 20000
Drip IrrigationRs.35000
FertilizersRs.25000Rs.25000
LabourRs.25000Rs.25000
TotalRs.111000Rs.50,000

Income From Avocado from 7th year. One fruit weihs and average of 250 Grams. The per kilo price of avocado is taken to be 80 Rs , Which is the minimum at market rate. Mandi price currently is Rs.190 but this is off season for avocado in most parts of india. So 40 Trees with each tree bearing 50 KG fruit on seventh year earns 1,60,000 Rs per Year in revenue

YieldRevenue
7th Year50 KG160000
8th year100 KG320000
9th Year150 KG480000
10th Year 200 KG6,40,000
11th year onwards250 KG800000

Most people do ask if its possible to cultivate 250 KG of avocado per tree. The figures were taken from a newspaper article on Avocado plantation in Tamil Nadu.

The Mandi price is set to minimum and the rest of the figures are clearly evident. Total of 40 trees per acre is the norm. 

In the news

An average of 8 Lakh rupees per year is a clear profit of 7.5 Lakhs from farming avocado per acre. This is clearly a feasible business at least from the present standpoint and price. Click To Tweet