What you need to know:
- Mr Mwangwero said although the mango season is approaching, the fruits are still not ready for picking.
- Farmers have been warned against harvesting mangos until the Department of Agriculture gives directives.
- Middlemen are said to be exploiting farmers of their gains by buying the tender mangoes.
Farmers and traders harvesting and selling unripe mangos now risk being arrested for crop abuse, Tana River Crop Officer Ramadhan Mwangwero has said.
Speaking to the Nation, Mr Mwangwero said harvesting the fruits before they mature is affecting productivity.
He noted that although the mango season is approaching, the fruits are still not ready for picking and should be left until they mature enough in order for them to fetch the right market price.
"In future, the trees will certainly go barren since they are being put under pressure to yield at their irregular pace. Most of them are already yielding fruits too slowly, while others are not going to give anything this season," he said.
He also said that this will render the farmers even poorer, forcing them to do away with the mature trees and start afresh with new trees.
Mr Mwangwero said to avoid such a calamity, farmers have been warned against harvesting mangos until the Department of Agriculture gives directives.
The Tana River County administration has also warned transporters against fetching the immature fruit from farmers, warning that any vehicle found with mangoes before the stipulated harvest season starts will be impounded.
A statement by County Administrator Dido Guyo noted that the middlemen are exploiting farmers of their gains by buying the tender mangoes.
"They buy five mangoes from the farmers at a cost of 10 shillings when the actual price per fruit should be 10 shillings. We are watching them this time," he said.
Mr Dido said the Department of Trade has come up with stringent measures that will save the farmers from exploitation and also protect them from economic vulnerability.
"We have a mango factory here. We will encourage farmers to deliver to the factory instead. We can sell our surplus," he said.