News and knowhow for farmers

Fruits drying raises Kenyan farmers’ earnings by 10 times

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Fruit farmers in Kenya can earn more than 10 times, reduce post harvest loses and benefit from existing high market demand for dry fruits by simply drying their yields using low cost energy sources like solar and direct sunlight.
Azuri Health, a Nairobi based company dealing in dried fruits and vegetables, is buying a kilo of dried mangoes for Sh600-1000 while a kilo of raw ones retails for as low as Sh30 in the market. One requires 5-6 raw mangoes with an average weight of 300g to make a kilo of dried mangoes. With a raw mango retailing at an average price of Sh10, its means a farmer who sells them raw earn up to Sh60 which is a tenth of Sh600 that the same mangoes are likely to fetch when dried.
How to dry fruits
James Muchoki, a Mango farmer in Chuka, Meru who sell his dried mangoes to Azuri Health Limited explains that no much resource is needed to dry fruits. ‘’ I manually slice my mangoes and dry them on a mat for 2-3 days to attain standards needed by my clients,’’ explained Muchoki. Mercy Nga’ng’a of Azuri Health on the other hand recommend the use of solar, saying that it is cheap and more effective. ‘’ a farmer incurs a one off expense of purchasing the solar which dry fruits more faster than direct sunlight,’ she said.
Reduce wastage
This profitable value addition venture has the potential to save the Kenya up to 120,000 metric tonnes of fruits that get destroyed in Kenya every year due to poor storage facilities. According to the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), more than 50 percent of 250,000 metric tonnes of fruits produced by smallholder farmers who account for 70 per cent of the country’s fruits get destroyed before reaching market.
READ ALSO: Value addition on rice
A part from Mangoes, Azuri Health is buying dried paw paws, pineapples, pumpkins and bananas from farmers across the country. The company is however buying raw bananas from farmers and dries them at its processing plant in Nairobi
For more information on how to supply fruits to this company, contact Mercy Nga’ng’a on +254722777717 or send an email to [email protected]

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