Makueni farmers eyeing European markets for their fresh produce

A mango farmer cleans the products before taking them to the processing stage. {Peter Ochieng, Standard}

Makueni is among the few counties in Kenya that will be supported to access the international market to sell fruits and legumes.

The drive to gain access particularly to the European Union market is being undertaken by the Market Access Upgrade Programme (Markup) in Kenya, a programme implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

The programme is being carried out in select 12 counties and is funded by the European Union.

Maina Karuiru, the National Project Coordinator for the Market Access Upgrade programme said the county was being supported to access the international market.

He said that mango farmers in the county will be supported and trained on how to produce quality mangoes for both the domestic and international markets.

"We are keen to ensure what farmers produce is of high quality that is acceptable in the European Union market.

"Our project will ensure farmers have access to the international market," Karuiru said yesterday in Makueni during a consultative meeting with Governor Kivutha Kibwana.

The project also aims to support Makueni farmers in increasing production for pulses such as green grams and French beans that also do well in the county.

Karuiru praised the county leadership for initiating a mango processing factory at Kalamba, which he said will play a pivotal role in giving farmers value for their efforts.

"We are interested in the entire mango value chain," he said, noting that the drive also aims at ensuring that the county is food secure.

Governor Kibwana welcomed the collaboration saying market access is key to agricultural production.

"We are glad that you are coming in to ensure that our farmers have access to both domestic and foreign market. This will ensure that the farmer is economically empowered and motivated to produce more," he said.

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