Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) plans to build Sh70 million mango processing plant as more pastoralists in the North Rift turn to horticulture.
KVDA managing director David Kimosop yesterday 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. Soon after we set up the facility, we will work towards making value addition work,” said Kimosop.
Construction of the factory will save farmers up to Sh10 million used to transport mangoes, oranges, pawpaws, watermelons 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 Kimosop, adding that they will target markets in Europe.
The region produces an average of 25,000 tonnes of mangoes annually but KVDA is looking to encourage farmers to increase production to 250,000 tonnes in the next one year.
The project, according to Kimosop, is expected to create more than 500 employment opportunities and improve economic development of the region.
“The processing plant will be a good solution to our marketing problems since the fruits form our main economic mainstay,” Joel Kimaiyo, a mango farmer said.