Major boost for Kerio Valley fruit farmers

Mango farm

Mzee Francis Kiplagat in his mango farm in Kerio Valley.

Photo credit: Stanley Kimuge | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Lack of steady market has discouraged farmers in the region from investing in the business.
  • Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) has constructed mango processing plant at Tot Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Despite the potential of Kerio Valley region to grow quality mangoes and passion fruits, production of highly profitable cash crops has been on decline over the past years with no export targeting the lucrative European market.

According to the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), the region has potential to produce 25,000 tonnes of mangoes and 20,000 tonnes of passion fruits annually, but lack of steady market has discouraged farmers from investing in the business.

“More than 40 per cent of mangoes produced in the region go to waste due to lack of market while middlemen offer low prices for the fruits subjecting farmers to exploitation,” said the HCDA report released last year.

But this is set to change after a state agency constructed a multi-million-shilling fruit processing plant to boost cultivation of mangoes and passion fruit targeting export market as alternative source of income to pastoralists in the region.

Mango processing plant

Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) has constructed mango processing plant at Tot Elgeyo Marakwet County to cushion farmers in the highly productive horticulture region from exploitation by middlemen, who offer low producer prices.

KVDA managing director Sammy Naporos said the Sh45 million mango factory has started operating officially to end the excessive loss of mangoes.

“The factory is a reprieve to farmers who have for long suffered exploitation by middlemen since it will ensure value addition for them,” said Mr Naporos.

Construction of the factory will save farmers between Sh8 and Sh10 million that they used to transport mangoes, oranges, paw paws, water melons and passion fruit to far markets.

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