Kenya’s Kitui County is characterised by unreliable rainfall across the year, with mangoes being among the few evergreen trees in the area. Now, the Kitui County Government, in collaboration with the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, has come up with a project of value chain addition on mangoes. Up to 50 per cent of mangoes go to waste as a result of a lack of a ready market and poor post-harvest storage methods.
Value addition will now bring food security as the mangoes can now last throughout the year. It will also improve livelihoods of residents. Simon Musyoka, a farmer at Ithiani village in Kitui Central, has adopted a modern method of ensuring his mango harvest does not go to waste by drying them.
Simon says that raw mango produce goes for Sh15 per kilo whereas the dried mango flakes go for Sh500 per kilogramme.
Musyoka invested Sh8 million to start that factory and has since employed more than 20 workers. “I still need more cash like up to Sh8 million to get to where I want the company to be, which includes the purchase of more equipment and increased manpower,” Musyoka told the-star.co.ke.
Explaining the process of drying mangoes, he said after receiving the mangoes, they are washed and stored in the cold room, taken to the factory for peeling, slicing, and then taken to the solar drier.
Dr Evelyn Okoth, a senior food technologist in JKUAT, who has been training officers from the ten cooperatives in Kitui at the facility, praised the project. “I think every county should embrace value chain addition as through the venture, there is less post-harvest destruction of harvests and mostly, wealth creation.”
[ Sh100 = € 0,78 ]