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Mango farmers earn KES28 million

26 March 2013, 13:05 Ngarae Elias

About 1 400 farmers in Embu County have earned KES 28million in the past two months from sale of mangoes.

This is a major reap compared to their 2010 earnings, a survey conducted by Kenya Agriculture Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP) indicates.

Farmers have also formed an association to enable them boost earnings by marketing their produce as a group therefore avoiding exploitation from middlemen, the project’s unit director Anthony Gateri said.

Speaking at Karurumo market during a farmers’ field day, Gateri said KAPAP was assisting farmers with grading, production techniques, disease control, sorting as well as linking farmers with various market outlets.

Gateri said they had engaged other stakeholders like International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and Technoserve who have helped change the fortunes of mango farmers by providing pheromone impregnated fruit fly traps that have helped get rid of the nagging insects.

The KAPAP director said mango fly and mango weevil, which have been an impediment to the farmers, have been contained.

He said the county has about 1 700 hectares of land with each hectare holding about 500 trees and each bush yielding between 300-400 mangoes.

Gateri said his organization had dwelt mainly on boosting market prices.

“Most of the farmers in the area have mangoes in the farms. Before we came in, it was free-for all. Brokers would buy at any price they liked. With this networking, we are able to monitor the outlets and know the price,” he said.

“We are now able to set up prices and farmers are now selling mangoes in counties that don’t produce mangoes like Nyandarua and Nairobi. We have also exploited opportunities in Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan. Due to the expansion of the markets, the price of mangoes per piece has risen from KES 3 in 2010 to an average of KES 7,” added Gateri.

The farmers have also purchased a one-acre piece of land through buying of shares in the company where they intend to set up a mango juice processing plant.

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