A Nairobi-based fresh produce exporter is seeking to grow farmers’ income this high season of mangoes and French beans (super or extra fine) by buying the produce for export to Middle East export markets where the demand for Kenyan fruits and vegetables is rising.
FarmGrown Kenya Limited which begun its operations in 2018 exporting fruits such as mangoes, passion and avocadoes to Middle East countries has increasingly earned supply demand in the international market.
“We have been exporting about eight tonnes of mangoes each to Arab countries but demands have been increasing from season to season forcing us to look for more farmers who can supply us with mango fruits and French beans,” said Frank Gathogo, FarmGrown Kenya Limited managing director.
RELATED ARTICLE: Exporter looking for farmers to grow French beans and Passion fruits
Agnes Koti, the marketing officer at Mofarm Fresh Fruits Exporters Ltd said, in Africa, Kenya competes with Egypt in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the United Arabs Emirates which are important markets for the country because the consumers in these countries are already aware of the high quality of the Kenyan vegetables and fruits.
In Kenya, the export season of French beans is from November to April while that of mangoes is from Dec–March in Eastern and Central Kenya, and from Nov–Feb as well as May–Aug at the coast.
FarmGrown is currently working with seven farmers who have a total of between 13 and 15 acres of land spreading across Kajiado and Ukambani counties. Before, the farmers used to sell their produce in the local markets which earns less income.
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 and exporters are left to compete over the remaining portion leading to supply shortage.
In this, FarmGrown is also seeking to contract out-growers who are willing to work with the company and train them on proper production practices to meet global standards.
“To keep our farmers up to the international standards, we have a team of five agronomists who engage the farmers in their production process to ensure the Global GAP is met.”
“This is the best way we ensure we satisfy our customers leaving them to demand for more each time.”
Gathogo further encourages the youth to take farming seriously and not as a gamble as it is a proven well-paying venture.
RELATED ARTICLE: Kilifi farmer dries mango fruits to beat low markets price in peak season
RELATED ARTICLE: Kenyan mango farmers and traders unite to promote production and marketing of the fruit
According to him, farmers from the dry regions in Kajiado, Makueni, Kitui and Machakos counties will be given first priority because most of the seasons depend on irrigation to produce their crops hence the produce are healthy and available all year round.
“As an expert in fresh produce production, farmers who depend on irrigation stand a high chance of steady farming and income throughout the year and to them, rain sometimes comes as a disruption as cases of pests and diseases breakout are rampant at the time,” said Gathogo.
He can be reached on +254 725320345.