Mango growers in Kenya are quite content at this time, as they might not record as many post-harvest losses this year. The Rockefeller Foundation has released a grant of Sh600 million ($6 million) to go towards value addition initiatives of the fruit through its YieldWise Food Loss initiative.
The programme aims to reduce food loss in Maize (Tanzania), Mangoes (Kenya) and Cassava and Tomato value chains to improve livelihoods of the small holder farmers.
Betty Kibaara, Director in charge of Food Initiative at the Rockefeller foundation, says the funding aims at helping reduce post-harvest losses of mangoes that currently stands at 90%.
The shelf life of mangoes is short (two to three weeks) and the majority of rural farmers lack cold storage facilities and with the fruits ripening at the same time of year, so many farmers sell all their fruit at market at throw-away prices, with many unsold mangoes left to rot.
Kitui in eastern Kenya is Kenya’s mango county and is more densely populated with mango trees than anywhere else in the country. In some regions, mangoes contribute 40% of the household income.
The cash will also be used in linking farmers to buyers as well as initiate value addition schemes like coming up with a mango juice plant. Farmers have also been encouraged to join cooperatives to enjoy economies of scale in purchasing equipment or negotiate for better prices for their produce.