The Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) plans to build a Sh70 million mango processing plant as more pastoralists in the North Rift region turn to horticulture as alternative source of income.
KVDA Managing director David Kimosop on Thursday disclosed plans to set up the factory at Tot in Elgeyo Marakwet County to cushion farmers from exploitation by middlemen who offer low prices.
“This is a pilot project and we are confident that the factory will be a reprieve to farmers who have suffered for long, We sashall set up the facility by December and work to ensure value addition for them,” said Mr Kimosop.
Construction of the factory will save farmers between Sh8 million and Sh10 million used to transport mangoes, oranges, paw paws, water melons and passion fruit to far markets.
“Organic juice will be extracted from the fruit pulp which can be used as a flavour for ice cream or even yoghurt,” said Mr Kimosop, adding that it will target markets in Netherlands and Europe. The region produces an average of 25,000 tonnes of mangoes annually but KVDA is looking to encourage farmers to increase production.