The future of Olivado:Things are looking bright. We are proposing to build a new plant in Tanzania, along with packhouses for exporting fruit. We may only have 15 staff in New Zealand, but in Kenya we have changed the lives of over 10,000 people.
THE OLIVADO AVOCADO OIL STORY:Kenyan avocados no longer enough for Olivado Oil
Olivado’s beginnings:Olivado in Kenya
By 2006 it had become apparent that the avocado supply in New Zealand was both uncertain and insufficient to keep up with growing international demand for extra virgin avocado oil.
After considerable research in Australia and South America we selected the Central Highlands of Kenya as the base for our second avocado oil production plant. In 2007 we began a pilot project in a temporary facility near Nairobi, and within six months had sourced over 700 small farmholdings, and had them certified organic by Swiss organic certifier IMO.
In 2010 we built a factory in Murang’a, near Thika. With 1,350 small farmholdings now certified organic and supplying us with avocados, we have a capacity in Kenya of 900MT of organic extra virgin avocado oil per year.
Olivado’s factory in Kenya is managed and staffed by Kenyans. We have a policy of employing staff with initiative, not necessarily education.
Jason Vokes, Olivado’s acting general manager, explains how the company started back in 2000, as the brain child of an enterprising team of businessmen and scientists. Together they pioneered and developed the process of extracting oil from local avocados, and before long had started a processing plant in Kerikeri.
Even though the new extraction process was working well, it soon became apparent that avocado production in New Zealand was too unstable to keep up with the high demand from overseas. The company began to look elsewhere for a second production plant, and Queensland, Australia was chosen. Unfortunately, avocados grown in tropical regions tend to have a lot of waxes and are difficult to process, so once again, the search was on for a second location.
Olivado finally selected Kenya for our new plant, and in 2007 work began on a pilot project in Nairobi. Within 6 months, Olivado had over 400 small farm holdings, providing certified organic avocados. This factory was so successful, another one was to follow in 2012. Today, over 1500 Fair Trade small farm holdings supply Olivado with avocados, producing 300 metric tonnes of extra virgin avocado oil per year.
This month Olivado were proud to be featured in The Orchardist, a monthly publication by Horticulture New Zealand. Written by professionals in the industry, for professionals in the industry, the periodical is the only monthly publication which reaches all levy-paying fruit growers.
The article was an excellent summary of Olivado; how we started, the challenges we faced, and how we have grown into one of New Zealand’s biggest exporters of Avocado oil. Today, Olivado have 3 production plants, creating 24 product lines, which sell in over 30 countries.