By yoana kimwele🐦
Kitui mangoes are among the best in the world according to the latest research by a notable university in Kenya, thus making the Country a potential source of top quality mangoes fruits.
Most of Kitui mango are either eaten fresh or processed into juice.
However, due to a myriad of challenges, with the fruitfly being the biggest source of their problems, Kitui mango farmers have had very little to show for their efforts.
Kitui mangoes are known for many health benefits among them is the fibres from the fruit which assist indigestion.
They also contain calories, fats, potassium, and vitamins that help with various metabolic functions of the body.
But, with the introduction of the new and, innovative solar-based processing technologies, which ensures that all the important nutrients on the final product are retained, there are emerging realities of what Kitui mango farmers with the support of their County Government are now doing for maximum returns.
They are now using Solar energy ( which in the past has been seen as a challenge), and turning it into the huge resource it is to their distinctive advantage to Value Add not only their mango fruits but other assorted Kitui grown fruits, your trusted COUNTY DIARY can now authoritatively Report.
Mango season starts from October to March considering the several varieties in kenya.
A mango tree can yield 200 -300 fruits per season. Therefore, a small-scale farmer with 50 trees is able to harvest approximately 10,000- 15,000 pieces of mangoes in a given season.
If the farmer opts to sell his fruits to brokers at a farm gate price of Ksh 3 that translates to Ksh 35,000 per season. Other costs factored in like fruit fly trap will still earn 6.1% of total revenue.
Mango farming can be successful if one follows a guide which includes; Planting, irrigation, inter cropping, harvesting and yield, post-harvest management, and packaging. Several banks in Kenya offer mango financing schemes to interested farmers, so the future looks bright for the industry.
Mango tree farming in Kitui has Potential Profits.
In contrast, some will make much more money if she/he adds deliberately adds Value to their mango fruits.
This is according to Dr Temi Mutia, (the Value Chain / Value Addition specialist in the office of the Governor), during the high mango season of fresh exotic mango fruits goes for kshs. 10/- per kg or kshs.150/- for 10kgs ex-farm gate.
In contrast, the same 10 kgs of the same mango fruit, once well sliced and solar dried, will at least fetch you kshs.500/- per kg or much more.
Then clearly, isn’t time we all started working a little bit smarter and not necessarily ALWAYS much harder, says Dr Temi, one of Africa’s leading proponents on matters of Value Chains and Value Addition as a prerequisite to Sustainable Human Development.
To this end, the county government of Kitui plans to have offered Applied / Practical skills to +/- 1,000 between now and the end of the current mango season in February 2020.
The training is being done in collaboration with JKUAT University and is led by Dr Everlyn Musenya Okoth from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the said University.
Dr Everlyn and her team have been in kitui for the last one week, during which they offered intensive applied training on Mango Value Addition using Solar Energy.
The first batch of 20ToTs (Trainer of trainees) who benefitted from the training were drawn from, Mui Thua Farmers Cooperative; Mbitini Horticulture; Kyangunga Horticulture; NZAMKA Co- operative; Miambani Farmers Cooperative; Happylands Cooperatives; Kitui West Horticulture, Mwingi West Horticulture; Mwingi Central and Ithui – Bidii Green Growers.
Following the training, the ToTs will, in turn, be expected to train at least 20 other Service Providers at their Cooperative / Community level, thus, effectively and sustainably building the capacity of the Co-operatives and the Community in reducing the huge loses they normally suffer, year in, year out.