Kenya’s Mavuno Organics is producing the first Living Wage avocados in the world, according to Dutch supplier Eosta, which sees living wages as a crucial step toward social sustainability
Since the start of the Kenyan avocado season in March, workers at Mavuno Organics have received a real living wage, thanks to retailers and consumers in Europe choosing Nature & More’s organic Living Wage avocados.
“It is significantly higher than a minimum wage, which supports little more than survival,” stated Dutch organic specialist Eosta, the company behind the Nature & More initiative.
Gert-Jan Lieffering, quality development manager at Eosta, said that Living Wages were one of the most important steps toward social sustainability.
“A Living Wage ensures that not only the basic requirements such as food and shelter are met, but also makes education and healthcare possible, and gives people the option to make substantial improvements in their lives,” he said. “This creates social stability and has an effect that permeates society.”
Eosta saves €0.02 per kilogram of avocados sold, which is then used to bridge the gap to the Living Wage, paid as a bonus to the regular wage.
“This makes Anthony’s avocados the first Living Wage avocados in the world,” said Eosta, referring to Mavuno’s owner Anthony Ngugi, “which is totally new in the fruit and vegetable trading sector.”
In addition, Eosta stated, the company’s organic avocados are not only socially conscious, but also ecologically sustainable.
Mavuno’s avocados have a Blue Water footprint of zero, compared with an average water footprint of 1,300 litres for avocados, as recently calculated by the RIVM (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment).
“The Kenyan avocados are cultivated with rainwater,” Eosta revealed. “There are two annual rainy seasons, and the soil has a high water retention capacity due to Mavuno’s organic cultivation method, which means that irrigation water is not required.”
In addition, they are produced by smallholders in a “varied agroforestry environment”. “So, no monocultures, pesticides and artificial fertiliser, but a wealth of biodiversity,” Eosta explained. “They are shipped to the Netherlands by sea, which produces a low level of emissions for transport per kilogram. “Besides this, they are also delicious Hass avocados. Eosta now has a state-of-the-art Aweta machine that can accurately select avocados on the basis of ripeness and quality so that store shelves contain only the best possible quality.”