Mango farmers in Baringo are losing millions of shillings due to lack of market.
They say the county government had promised them a ready market but they are facing massive losses.
Three years ago, Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi, Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos and Baringo woman representative Grace Kiptui championed the growing of over 30,000 mango seedlings along the Kerio Valley belt.
Farmers are now complaining that the ready market they were promised is non-existent. To compound their misery, the poor state of roads has prevented them from accessing retail markets in Kabarnet and Iten towns.
Led by Joseph Noti, a farmer at Kipsoit in Karbarnet/Soi ward, the farmers said they opted to venture into mango farming to end the insecurity occasioned by frequent attacks by the armed Pokot bandits from the neighbouring Tiaty sub-county.
“Due to favourable soil and climatic condition, we were convinced to turn to fruit farming to avoid hostilities from our neighbours, but we are now faced with another difficult challenge of where to sell our mangos,” Noti said.
Noti urged the Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties to urgently establish a mango factory in the region.
Tarkok Rotich, a 70-year-old farmer from Salawa, said she is forced to trek more than 10km daily to carry her mangoes to Kabarnet town where she sells them at Sh10 per fruit. “I am forced to cover many kilometres every day to meet my basic needs and pay my grandchildren’s school fees,” said Tarkok.