Tana River County is targeting the international market with its surplus mango produce to help boost farmers’ earnings.
The excess yield from about 2,000 growers, mostly based in Galole Sub-county, is sometimes left to rot due to lack of market as brokers from Mombasa and Nairobi flock to the area to buy at low prices of between Sh2 and Sh3 per mango, leaving farmers counting losses.
Tana River County Governor Dhadho Godhana now reckons that the international market will be a major boost, saying his administration is making plans to facilitate exports to India and Indonesia.
“This is the time for us to realise a major market which will earn us more money. There is a shortage of mangoes in these markets, a gap that we are capable of filling,” he said during a professionals’ forum in Garsen.
According to the governor, the two countries suffer deficits of the fruit during the December-February season.
Currently, Mr Godhana says he is negotiating with businessmen from the Asian States with the hope of clinching export deals.
“Losses due to lack of market are heartbreaking and a matter of great concern,” he said while castigating local middlemen exploiting farmers yet there is a huge market for the produce abroad.
Further, he noted that inasmuch as the Coast Development Authority (CDA) was planning to install new pulp processing machines, the local mango production would still be too much for one plant.
“Our farms have production to sustain about four fruit processing plants, which we still do not have…lets gain from the external market, at least put the farmers at an advantage.”
Tana River produces 30,000 metric tonnes of mangoes per year, with more than 40 percent of the produce mostly going to waste.
The devolved unit produces four varieties of mangoes including Chaunsa, Mangifera Atauflo and the eunique Alfonso preferred for pulp.