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Chinese exporters eye Kenya’s mangoes

Saturday March 4 2017

Officials admire a mango fruit during the unveiling of the deal that will see China import mango fruits from Kenyan farmers.

Officials admire a mango fruit during the unveiling of the deal that will see China import mango fruits from Kenyan farmers. PHOTO | CAROLINE WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CAROLINE WAMBUI
By CAROLINE WAMBUI
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BRIAN OKINDA
By BRIAN OKINDA
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Mango farmers are set to start exporting their produce to China following a pact between Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce (KCCC).

The two organisations inked the deal in Nairobi last week, where Chinese investors committed to purchase mangoes from Ukambani.

“We want to uplift the livelihood of the smallholder mango farmer who faces loses as middlemen cheaply buy their produce and sell at higher prices when there is oversupply,” said KNCCI chairman Kiprono Kittony, during the event that also celebrated Chinese Mango Festival.

William Zhuo, the chairman of KCCC, said the deal will improve the rural economy.

“We look forward to working with mango growers, assisting them to source markets for their produce thus absorb their surplus harvest,” he said.

Han Jun, the chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in East Africa, noted that they will import Chinese agricultural experience to boost mango growing.

“The hot sun in Ukambani is a blessing as we produce sweet mangoes. However, we have been experiencing many challenges as we lacked an organised marketing system,” said Meshaek Ikinya Muteru, an official of Muthetheni Mango Growers Association as he welcomed the deal with Chinese.

REQUIREMENTS

To sell produce to the Chinese, a farmer must be a member of a registered group that has legal documents that include PIN certificate, Memorandum of Association, a bank account and a certificate of origin for the consignment exported.

Lucy Muchoki, the chief executive, Kenya Agribusiness and Agro-industry Alliance, said that the signing of the pact would greatly benefit poor farmers who did not know where sell.

“Farmers will be directly linked to the market thus getting a decent livelihood while at the same time curbing wastage.”

According to KNCCI and KCCC, the Chinese would buy the Apple and Kent varieties.

The mangoes should also be farmed organically, be pest-free and have a 3.12 inch circumference.

Besides the pact, farmers in Ukambani are also looking forward to having a processing firm in Machakos County to cut transport charges as mangoes are bulky to transport and are highly perishable.

“We would no longer have to bring our mangoes to Nairobi for processing as we will process them in Machakos and transport the finished product to other parts of the world,” said Muteru.