Kitui County under able leadership of Governor Charity Kaluki Ngilu will soon be exporting Solar dried mango flakes to Europe if plans currently under way bear fruit as envisaged, the COUNTY DIARY has learned.
According to the Kitui County Value Chain / Value Addition Specialist Dr Temi Mutia, in 2016, the EU imports for dried fruits and vegetables stood at a whopping Euros. 9.7 Billion and the figure is expected to raise as health consious people shift to naturally value added fruits like dried mango.
Dr. Temi further disclosed that, the EU Counties are mostly importing the dried fruits and vegetables from South East Asian Countries ( particularly India, Philippines and China).
In Africa, the leading top 3 exporters of dried mango to Europe include : (a) South Africa, currently exporting about 2,500 MT; Bokina Faso, exporting 1,900 MT, and Ghana exportin 1,500 MT.
Dr. Temi who has, over the last six (6) months been working on the mango Value Chain project with a team of experts from JKUAT University, KEPHIS, ZAAF Institute from German and Wagenigen University from Netherlands.
Through solar drying , an average of 10 kgs of exotic mango should give you 1kg of mango flakes, while 14
(14kg of our Kikamba /indigenous mango will give you 1kg of mango flakes.
In Europe, 1kg of mango flakes from exotic mango is currently fetching an average of Euros. 80 00 to 100.00, with mango flakes that are scientifically proven as being organic fetching almost double the normal price.
Mango farmers in Kitui County have, over the years been getting a very raw deal for their sweatThere is every likelihood that our indigenous mango ( which are naturally organic), are for the very first time in the history of our Country , going to get a market.
In Kitui Country, mango farmers have been suffering huge loses, with some contemplating to cut down their mango trees in favour of other crops.
Because of the great significance of the project, all the key players currently spearheading the Kitui Mango flakes project have mutually agreed that quality testing should be done both at KEPHIS and in German.
In readiness for the anticipated export business, the County Government of Kitui has already mobilised, organised will over 2,000 farmers into clusters, with an estimated 30,000 mango trees, with each mature tree producing am average of 200 mango fruits per season.
In Europe, mango flakes are increasingly being used as natural sweeteners in the breakfast cereals, (like in Weetabix), and it’s only a matter of time before the same phenomena finds its way in Kenya, and especially amongst the health conscious individuals in the Country.