Reprieve for mango and avocado farmers as state secures new market, promises value addition

Thousands of mango and avocado farmers in Kenya have a reason to smile as the government through the Ministry of Agriculture secured a ready market for their produce- a development that is expected to reduce losses- Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has confirmed.

CS Linturi announced that the government has secured markets in India and Israel.

The new markets will add to the existing European and Middle-East markets that are currently major destinations for Kenya’s produce and thus cushion the country against stiff competition from Latin America.

The CS was responding to supplementary questions raised at the Senate by Embu Senator Alexander Munyi Mundigi and Machakos Senator Agnes Kavindu Muthama who decried the exploitation of Mango and avocado farmers by middlemen due to lack of market.

The Senators lamented that Mango farmers in Embu, Kitui, and Machakos Counties are yet to find a reliable market, even for their high yields this season.

Responding to the Senators, CS Linturi assured farmers that the government has secured new markets, besides enhancing creative innovation and an upcoming value-addition program to cushion farmers from incurring more losses.

Linturi noted that value addition will not only reduce post-harvest losses but also enable farmers to tap into markets beyond their immediate vicinity.

The CS further called for collaboration with counties noting that the government will be kicking off the National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP)- a Community Driven Development Project that will be seeking to increase market participation and value addition for targeted small-scale farmers across various counties in Kenya.

Mr Linturi called leaders in each of the Counties in the Country to collaborate and identify their value chain that will benefit from the NAVCDP funds ahead of the kickoff of the program in July.

According to CS Linturi, the NAVCDP project will deepen investments in existing interventions around productivity enhancement, community-led farmer extension, water management, and data-driven value chain services. He added that it will also introduce intensified investments into select value chains, and scale up value addition and market linkages.

He further noted that value addition will increase the shelf life of products.

The NAVCDP program funded by the World Bank is expected to benefit dairy, poultry, and fruit and vegetable farming farmers. Farmers in coffee, cotton, cashew nut, pyrethrum, and apiculture value chains will also be included.

Kenya is among the top 10 producers of avocado and mangoes in the world and currently, farmers in the country have diversified into mango and avocado farming in the last decade owing to premium prices.

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