The Murang’a government has been urged to build an integrated fruit processing company.
Former Kiharu MP Muturi Mwangi on Monday said many farmers sell their fruit to brokers at throwaway prices for lack of a market. Muturi, a farmer, said the plant would stop farmers from losing millions of shillings.
He said farmers sell their mangoes at an average of Sh5 per fruit to brokers who then resell it for Sh20. The brokers take advantage of lack of proper marketing strategies to exploit farmers.
“We are unable to recover the production costs that we incurred in spraying and tending to mango trees,” Muturi said.
He personally sprayed his trees from August to November to protect his crop from fruit flies and installed 30 traps on his six-acre farm, at Sh500 each.
Muturi said a factory would also provide jobs to hundreds of youths and help stabilise prices. He praised the county government for controlling the avocado subsector through saccos and contract farming.
“The county government has managed to negotiate good prices of up to Sh40 per avocado and should do the same thing with fruits such as mangoes, which are in plenty in the county,” Muturi said.
Speaking on his farm in Kambirwa village, Kiharu subcounty, he said semi-arid areas such as Gaturi, Makuyu, Kambiti and Ithanga are capable of raking in millions of shillings for the county government through fruit farming.
local market saturated
Muturi said he looks for markets for the melons, lemons, thorn melons, pawpaws and bananas he grows on his farm. He mostly sells to traders in the nearby Mukuyu market.
“Such a factory would structure the sector and make it easy for farmers to invest more in farming because their returns would be assured,” Muturi said.
He said the best site for the plant would be Maragua, which has sufficient land and good roads. Muturi urged the county government to partner with international companies to buy surplus mangoes as the local market is saturated.