Farmers, local traders and other stakeholders in the mango sector have launched an association to help them promote and market the fruit whose 25 per cent of its 400,000 – 500, 000 metric tons produced per year is lost at post-harvest stage in the country.
According to TechnoServe, an international nonprofit organisation, 90 per cent of the mangoes in Kenya are sold in the informal markets (vibanda) where prices are low while processors in the country operate at 30 per cent capacity due to lack of quality raw materials.
This comes at a time The prices of mangoes at processor level has risen by more than 80 per cent in the last seven years due to increased demand and low supply.
The newly launched Association of Kenya Mango Traders (AKMT) will therefore front the interests of the various stakeholders. Currently, the association has over 50 members registered before its launch with membership expected to hit over 200 in the near future.
AKMT is expected to bring together individuals involved in the sourcing of mangoes from Kenyan farmers for the local and international markets. The group was registered in November 2017 through the Societies Act (Cap 108). Its membership is drawn up from traders who operate from urban markets like Wakulima, City Park, Ngara, Kangemi, Kawangware, Githurai, Kongowea among others.
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AKMT together with partners and development partners have been at the forefront of supporting and growing the mango value chain in Kenya. Since 2015 the development partner has mobilized over 32,000 mango farmers and trained over 20,000 on post-harvest management and linked them to ready markets. As a result, revenue per farmer has increased by up to 129 per cent and significant drop in post-harvest losses by up to 25 per cent.
“The formation of AMKT and its official launch, is further expected to mainstream these gains in empowering mango farmers and further ensuring the mango sector remains a key income earner for not only the farming households but also local county and the national government economy,” said AKMT CEO, Linah Mukami.
Ms. Mukami, further said, “the association will immediately pursue various interest among them working with county governments to abolish multiple and high tax points, helping farmers address issues of fruit flies and mango weevils, work with county government to ensure better market structure, address poor feeder roads at county level and promote the awareness and increased consumption of mangoes in the country.
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AKMT Chairman, Mr. Julius Njuki said the association will also seek to address the self-imposed ban on mango export to the European Union.
“The current production stands at 400,000 -500,000 metric tons annually. Working with development organizations like TechnoServe we have managed reduce the post-harvest losses from 50% of the annual production in 2015 to 25% in 2018,” said Mr. Njuki.
According to Mr. Njuki, Mango is the safest fruit to enjoy in Kenya as its only picked when ripe and the natural ripening process cannot be artificially influenced.
“With support from government, we want to promote mango eating culture in Kenya. In some areas, Mango is still perceived as a fruit only accessible to the rich. Therefore, we are asking for a mango week when traders can be allowed to promote awareness of mango consumption and sell the fruits in Nairobi and other cities,” said Mr. Njuki.
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In supporting mango farmers, the association said it will embark on the integration of farmers through provision of technical support and inputs, and the provision of ready market for all produce.
Photo: Mango fruits. Photo courtesy.