For mango growers in Tana River County, this is not a great season. They totally lack the markets, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the mango season in November, an estimated 20,000 tons of mangoes has gone to waste as processing companies cut orders, complaining of lack of demand as a result of the pandemic. This leaves some farmers to hawk their produce on the streets.
Dozens of farmers told the Nation they expect more losses as no one is interested in buying their mangoes. Regular buyers have reduced their orders by half, while others have completely suspended this year's booking.
The growers appeal to the government to negotiate for export deals with India and Pakistan to save them from losses since there is demand in those countries. The unique local Ngowe mango variety accounts for 17 per cent of pulp production in Kenya, with Tana River County solely supplying pulp and juice factories, while Lamu and Kilifi counties supply local markets.
Growers have also expressed disappointment over the stalled Galole Fruit Processing plant renovation that was meant to save them from losses. The plant that was supposed to process 40,000 tons of pulp has since gone quiet despite the installation of new machines that cost tax payers tens of millions.
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