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Factory to save mango farmers from losses

RIFT VALLEY
By - | May 15th 2013

By Robert Kiplagat

Baringo, Kenya: Mango farmers in Kerio Valley in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties will benefit from a Sh30 million mango-processing factory.

The factory to pasteurise the fruits will be ready by the end of the year in Tot, Marakwet District, one of the highest mango producers.

The project, funded by the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), targets to process 60,000 fruits per day, and in the process promote the production of the crop in the region. KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop said the authority has over one million mango seedlings that farmers are set to plant in the region.

“We are targeting two million seedlings next year and five million in three years’ time,” he said.

Mr Kimosop said Kerio Valley has favourable climate and soils for mango production but farmers were yet to fully venture into mango farming, saying there is still a low number of mango trees in the region that need to be increased. “At an average of 1,000 mangoes per season assuming that a farmer sells each fruit at Sh10, he can get over Sh5 billion between three to four years.”

Kimosop said the authority is partnering with a Holland-based company to establish the processing factory, which will add value to the fruits before being sold to local and international markets.

He regretted that most communities along the valley were still living in poverty and engaging in retrogressive cultures such as cattle rustling instead of venturing into agri-business.

Highest yields

According to him, the region has vast means of transportation such as Eldoret airport, which he said, was efficient in exporting the mangoes to outside markets and earn foreign exchange.

Kimosop said losses incurred due to lack of market will be a thing of the past once the factory is complete, adding that farmers will be transporting their produce to the factory instead of waiting for buyers who are normally unavailable.

The areas including Tot in Markwet, Cheptebo in Keiyo, parts of Barwessa in Baringo and Sigor in West Pokot County are poised to produce the highest yield of mango fruits.

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