Mango farmers in Tana River County have a reason to smile after the government unveiled the Sh245 million Integrated Fruit Processing Plant (IFPP).
The project by the Coast Development Authority is expected to reduce post-harvest losses. The project started in 2017 but was delayed due to inadequate funding.
East African Community, Asals and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza, said the upgrading of the facility included the installation of a pulp processing plant, auxiliary facilities, and a waste management system.
She explained that the facility would mechanize mango processing into pulp at a rate of 1.5 metric tons per hour to increase the capacity and efficiency.
“In Tana River County, mangoes have been a cornerstone of the local economy for decades, bringing prosperity to over 30,000 households,” said Malonza.
The CS noted that farmers harvest more than 50,000 tones a season and transport over 35,000 tones to markets and industries in Mombasa, Garissa, and Nairobi.
“Unfortunately, a substantial portion of the produce remains unsold in local markets or left to rot on farms due to the lack of buyers. The same has also happened in other counties in the Coast region,” she said.
Malonza said the plant contributes to economic development, employment opportunities for locals, market outlets for farmers, income for fruit farmers and value addition of fruits.
The plant can produce 1.5 metric tons per hour of mango pulp. The pulp christened ‘Tana Gold’ is packed in five and 200 kilograms for small businesses and industrial use.
The mango season in Tana River county runs from October to March.
The plant will also have a water bottling component with a capacity to process 1,000L/H of purified water to complement pulp processing and contribute to sustainability.
“We have introduced a water purification plant to ensure that every drop of water used in the processing is efficiently managed, reinforcing our commitment to responsible resource utilization,” said Malonza.