Mango farmers can save up to 60 percent post-harvest loses caused by lack of ready markets by drying mangoes and crushing them into powder. This way they will be increasing their shelf-life and getting more value out of them.
The powdered mangoes are easy to market because consumers will not be worried as to when the product will go bad. In this case yoghurt companies, cake bakers and even juice makers are just some of the potential buyers not to talk of numerous households which eat fruits as part of healthy living.
In Kenya the harvesting season for mangoes in most parts of the country especially in Ukambani and central Kenya regions starts from October through February. To avoid reoccurring of wastage due to lack of ready market and the fact that mangoes are fast-perishable goods, farmers in these regions have come up with solar drier system which help them dry their mangoes reducing the cost of production.
Kambiti village in Murang’a County is a good example with farmers who dry their mangoes for value addition. Farmers in this area do experience inadequate rainfall and the best they have found doing well is mango farming.
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They have formed farmers group, Kambiti East Mango Self Help where they use biomass solar driers and grinders whose job is to convert dried mango peels into fine powder which to them some are used in making porridge. Biomass solar driers can be made at home of purchased the ready-made while grinder costs Ksh90,000 or an electric one that costs Ksh400,000 for commercial production.
Instead of selling their mangoes at five or seven shillings each, the already packaged powdered mangoes can fetch more cash according to the weight. For more income one needs 120 mangoes to produce 1 Kilogram of Powder which goes for Ksh1,000 on the market. 120 mangoes will cost you Ksh300 in the farm thus triple returns after value addition.
In real sense Ksh10,000 worth of mangoes would give you roughly Ksh30,000 in returns. Ksh100,000 worth of mangoes would give you Ksh300,000 in returns and this goes on depending on the investment applied.
Mango farmers in most parts of the country can enjoy such returns especially those in semi-arid Eastern region like Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Embu (Ishiara) and even Kitui which produce over 60% of Kenya’s mango harvest per year.