Mango farmers from Murang’a County have decried huge financial losses they incur due to lack of better markets for their fruits.
Drawn from parts of Maragua and Gatanga constituencies, the farmers accuse middlemen who are buying their fruits at meager prices leading to destruction of the fruits at the farms.
They claim their mangoes are rotting in their farms arguing that they have lost hope of getting better prices after being exploited by middlemen and lack of support from the devolved administration.
James Mwaura, a farmer from Kambiti said the middlemen were taking advantage of lack of proper marketing strategies to exploit farmers.
A mango, he noted is selling at Sh. 5 saying the price is too little considering the price of chemicals farmers use to spray the trees.
We wonder why the county government has neglected mango farmers and we have seen prices of other fruits like avocado being streamlined, posed Mwaura.
The farmers want the local county government to put up a fruit processing plant in effort to improve mango prices and create jobs for hundreds of young people.
Having a fruit processing plant, we will be sure our fruits have ready market and it will also help us fetch better price. We want the county government to engage international buyers who will buy our mangoes for export, said another farmer Lucy Nyambura.
Most of mangoes are being traded in local markets and due to high production of the fruits; the demand has gone down.
Some of us are not interested in harvesting our mangoes as the money we get in return, cannot help us to support family needs, added Nyambura.
The farmers are further calling on the county government to put up stalls along Kenol-Sagana road so as to enable them sell fruits to travellers.
In 2017, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria promised to put up a fruit processing plant at Ithanga area to benefit mango farmers.
After he was elected for second term, Wa Iria vowed to boost earnings of farmers by blocking middlemen and connecting farmers with international marketers.
The county government three years ago helped avocado farmers by partnering them with international companies leading to increase of avocado prices. The governor promised to help the mango sector but the initiative on setting up the plant has not yet materialized.
Source: Kenya News Agency