A group of farmers in Murang’a has got a financial boost to complete a Mango processing plant which has been under construction for over 10 years.
The Gikindu Mangoes Self Help Group from Kambirwa area in Kiharu Constituency on Saturday received Sh.120, 000 from American philanthropists through Can-Do-Kids Charity organization.
The funds will facilitate completion of construction of the house which the farmers started 10 years but stalled for lack of adequate cash flow.
Once completed, the building will host machinery for extracting mango juice and sheds for drying the fruits with aim of fetching more returns from the produce.
The first phase of the project will require Sh.650, 000 which Can-Do-Kid Kenyan patron, Karanja Mburu Wamatangi has promised to mobilize from well-wishers to support the farmers.
Each member farmer, Karanja said, has been paying Sh.150 per month, which is inadequate to complete the project that requires a total of Sh.4.5 million.
The group which was established in 2009 has 70 members and have been drying mangoes at their homes.
Karanja said his organization was touched by efforts of the farmers to do value addition of their fruits purportedly to fetch more returns.
“I was touched by the farmers’ efforts and decided to mobilize well-wishers to support the farmers. I appeal for more help to the farmers as the project will improve socio-economic welfare of the local community,” he noted.
Speaking on Saturday when he handed over a cheque to the farmers, Karanja who has been championing construction of water tanks to local schools, said the group needed help to complete the project that would be of great benefit to the local community.
“Dried mangoes have big market and Kambirwa is known for high production of the fruits. The plant is designed to increase output of dried mangoes and extraction of juice which sells at high prices,” added Karanja.
Currently, majority of the farmers sell fresh mangoes which attracts low prices and 70 percent of their production usually goes to waste due to lack of value addition and proper storage.
After the first phase, Karanja noted that the farmers would be in a position to dry their mangoes but extraction of juice would commence once the project was fully completed.
The Chairman of the group, Peter Muchoki said many buyers both local and international have showed interest to buy their dried mangos.
He noted that demand for dried mangoes was huge and the group could not satisfy it at the moment.
“We are looking forward to complete this project which will also support us in packaging and branding our mangoes so as to get lucrative prices. Currently, buyers get our mangoes and brand for themselves,” added Muchoki.
He lauded Can-Do-Kids for the support saying soon they would increase the quantity of dried mangoes in which international buyers have showed interest.
By Bernard Munyao