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    Kitui mango farmer doubles harvest through grafting

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    A Kitui County farmer is en­joy­ing im­proved an­nual yields from graf­ted man­goes in his one acre farm from 500 fruits per tree to 1000 fruits after abandon­ing grow­ing local vari­et­ies of man­goes

    Stephen Musy­oka who used to grow tra­di­tional vari­ety of man­goes is one of the be­ne­fi­ciar­ies of free train­ings on graf­ted man­goes offered in 2016 by Rise Kenya, a non-profit or­gan­iz­a­tion which also built a fruit’s pro­cessing equip­ment in the county to help farm­ers with the ready mar­ket.

    RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Value ad­di­tion im­proves live­li­hoods of mango farm­ers in Kitui

    “I am grow­ing Ngowe vari­ety of man­goes using graft­ing tech­nique and I har­vest more fruits from my 100 tress than I used to two years ago,” said Musy­oka.

    “Moreover, grow­ing man­goes by seeds takes longer to pro­duce fruit and are more dif­fi­cult to man­age than those that have been graf­ted, thus mango tree graft­ing is my pre­ferred method of grow­ing the fruit.”

    This tech­nique has also seen other farm­ers who used to grow other crops such as maize aban­don the ven­ture for graf­ted man­goes due to cli­matic change that has seen the county re­ceive little rain­fall mak­ing such crops un­suit­able for the area.

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    “Kitui is one of the arid and semi-arid areas. Farm­ers in these areas are now forced to ad­just and or adopt new farm­ing tech­niques or em­brace crops that are suit­able for such con­di­tions such as man­goes. Graft­ing tech­nique ad­op­ted by Kitui mango farm­ers is a big hope,” said Charles Muthui Kang’ethe, Na­tional Farm­ers In­form­a­tional Ser­vice (NAFIS), Kitui County.

    “Mango tree graft­ing is the most re­li­able and eco­nom­ical method of mango propaga­tion.”

    Musy­oka who is cur­rently har­vest­ing his man­goes sells the fruits to the pro­cessing plant by Rise Kenya via the agents of the fact­ory who come sort and ferry the fruits to the com­pany. He ripens the re­main­ing fruits which are then sold in the nearby busi­ness centres.

    RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Dry­ing man­goes saves farm­ers post-har­vest loses

    The man­goes are packed in 5kg car­tons which carry man­goes sizes between 9 and 10. He is paid in a week time after de­liv­ery de­pend­ing on the weight of the man­goes de­livered.

    Be­fore farm­ers sold all their man­goes in the mar­ket, res­ult­ing in lower prices and wastage with many un­sold man­goes left to rot.

    The train­ings by Rise Kenya has helped farm­ers like Musy­oka re­duce post-har­vest losses which is 40 per cent in Kenya. This is due to poor har­vest­ing and post-har­vest hand­ling meth­ods, want­ing stor­age, trans­port­a­tion and pack­aging.

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    Ngowe mango vari­ety ac­counts for 17 per cent pro­duc­tion in Kenya and it is pre­ferred by pro­cessors, in ad­di­tion to Tommy Atkins, Van Dyke and Kent. It is also res­ist­ant to an­thracnose dis­ease.

    Mwingi Dis­trict for ex­ample has one of the highest pop­u­la­tion of in­di­gen­ous man­goes in the whole coun­try. However, eight out of every 10 ripe man­goes go to waste while in the hands of farm­ers ac­cord­ing to Jomo Kenyatta Uni­versity of Ag­ri­cul­ture and Tech­no­logy (JKUAT) re­search.

    Dur­ing the mango peak sea­son, a sack of ripe man­goes fetches a paltry Sh1000 there­fore selling to the fact­ory be­comes more prof­it­able.

    RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Kenyan man­goes have a ripe mar­ket in Japan

    Kerio Val­ley De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity sells graf­ted mango seed­lings at Sh120 each and they can be reached on +254 (053) 20633661-2

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