By George Munene
The Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP) is setting up a project for Kenya’s 12 main mango producing counties that will help them in accessing the more commercially lucrative international market for their fruit.
This will be done by supporting farmers in these counties by training them on how to produce quality, pest and disease-free mangoes that will easily find a market internationally.
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The program follows the resumption of direct export of Kenyan mangoes to Europe in September this year after a seven-year ban instituted by the EU due to Kenyan mangoes having a high fruit fly load.
MARKUP, a partnership program between the European Union and East African Community also aims to help farmers find markets, especially in Europe for peas, snow peas, passion fruits, nuts, chilies, herbs and spices. Increasing the value of both extra and intra-regional agricultural exports will serve to improve farmer livelihoods and by extension the economy of member countries.
“Communities will increase revenues that the country gets when we import our products outside of the country and generally this will create jobs from the farmer group level, exporter and at the national level,” Maina Karuiru, MARKUP’s National Project Coordinator said at the project launch at Makueni.
For his part, the County’s governor Kivutha Kibwana congratulated the program as it will help farmers at the grassroots level get better returns from their mango farms.