Market access and post-harvest losses have for a long period of time been the major challenges facing Kenyan mango farmers. These two challenges have hindered them from realizing maximum income from their produce which could in turn uplift their livelihoods and lifestyles.
Their worries were heard and on the 25th of February this year, the Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance (KAAA) the Chinese chamber (comprise of the Chinese people living in Kenya)the Kenya chamber came together to provide a platform that facilitates market linkages to the Kenyan Farmers to enable them gain maximum income from all the mangoes they harvest.
Speaking at the event the chairman of the Chinese Chamber Mr. William Zhuo said that the mango farmers from Machakos County approached them through the Kenya Chambers seeking the possibility and facilitation to directly export the fruits to China. He agreed to help in exporting the mangoes a move that will boost the farmers income because their products are now been traded in the international market.
In her speech, the KAAA’s Chief Executive Officer Lucy Muchoki stressed out the fact that Kenyan mangoes are the best in the world and not even Mexico can match the local quality. “We not only have one variety of mangoes but four varieties hence creating diversity,” The Chief Executive said she would facilitate market linkages with the Chinese investors in the country to oversee the exportation of mangoes to international market.
This will cut off the middle men in the value chain who for a long time had been exploiting farmers off their produce. She later emphasized the need for the farmers to engage in value addition of the mangoes, to not only produce them for their own consumption but process them into juices and sell to the people. This expanding the life span of the mangoes reducing post-harvest loses which for a period had challenged the farmers.
Speaking at the event was Mr. Kiprono Kittony of Kenya Chambers who took the platform to applaud the Chinese for the great work they have done in the country from mind blowing malls, the completed standard gauge railway to the super highways marking this market a sure investment as this will elevate the mango farmers in terms of greater income.
Over 50,000kgs of mangoes were sold at the event, with a box fetching five dollars each, which all sold out at a record time of 2 hours. Over 500 farmers benefited from this initiative and they got their money directly with no hindrance from the middlemen.