KVDA sets aside Sh240 million for mango expansion

Women sorting mango seedlings at Tot trading centre in Elgeyo Marakwet County. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) has put aside Sh240 million for the expansion of mango production in Elgeyo Marakwet.

The initiative is aimed at raising raw products for the recently established mango processing plant in Tot. The authority projects the initiative will generate Sh450 million annually.

KVDA targets to raise 3 million mango seedlings that will be distributed to farmers.

The project will be a milestone in environmental conservation because it will boost forest cover, generate income and address the cattle rustling menace in the region.

KVDA recently established a mango factory that produces mango juice, mango puree and mango pulp, boosting the economic fortunes of local farmers, who have been struggling to find a market for their produce.

Speaking during the launch of mango seedlings distribution at the factory situated in Marakwet East Constituency recently, Asal and Regional Development Principal Secretary Idris Dakota said the government would fund the mango project.

He challenged the Marakwet community to embrace the project, noting that value-addition is a government flagship project to improve the economic standards of citizens.

Boost earnings

"The government is committed to pumping funds to projects that boost earnings and standards of living. The plan is to increase high-value farm commodities in this region," Dokata said.

He noted that mango expansion would enhance tree cover, saying more seedlings will be distributed to environmental conservation groups along Cherangany water towers, saying it will help mitigate against effects of climate change.

The government, the PS added, is working closely with KVDA towards the fulfilment of President William Ruto's 10 million trees initiatives.

Dokata said Sh60 million had been allocated towards operationalisation of the mango project.

"We urge farmers to take their mango produce to this factory for value addition. They should take advantage and generate more income on processed products instead of being exploited by middlemen," said the PS.

KVDA Managing Director Sammy Naporos said KVDA targets to plant 12.5 million mango seedlings in Kerio Valley over the next five years, saying the initiative will eradicate poverty.

"With the establishment of the mango factory, residents will earn better income," Naporos said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich said the security had been enhanced in the region and asked residents to engage in farming to transform their livelihoods.