Despite Kenya’s excellent climate for fruit farming, farmers continue to lose millions in wasted mangoes due to lack of value addition that leads to wastage.
The country is now experiencing high mango supplies across the country, but most of the mangoes are going to waste due to poor preservation.
The University of Nairobi’s nutrition department is processing the fruit into wine in its Upper Kabete campus to provide alternative mango markets and save farmers losses.
The initiative will see farmers deliver their fruits for processing and help them earn an extra income from the crop.
Research indicates that the Kenyan wine market has a potential of 6.2 million litres annually, with an average revenue of about Sh67 billion.
Mr Paul Ongaro an officer in the nutrition department says the mango wine has a long shelf life which helps to store the farmers value and preserve their wealth.
“We sell the wine to the neighborhood and increase in the productive capacity should help to commercialize the process,” he said. This and other universities show Kenya’s potential to create jobs just by adding value to what is locally available.
He was speaking at the ongoing Nairobi Innovation Week at the University of Nairobi.
If well harnessed the crop could be a key revenue earner for Kenya which already exports the fruit to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and others.
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Export to China
Meanwhile mango farmers are set to start exporting their produce to China after an agreement was reached 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 early this month, where Chinese investors committed to purchase mangoes from Ukambani in what could improve the income of the mango growers.
The university is also making cheese to convert excess dairy milk into products with a longer shelf life.