Kitui County, with a population of about one million people is officially classified as Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL). It is generally characterized by inadequate, erratic and often unreliable rainfall ranging between 500 mm and 1050 mm with 40% reliability. On the other hand, cyclical drought and famine, coupled with lack of sources of sustainable livelihoods means two out of every three people from the County live on less than a dollar a day. Paradoxically, Mangoes (both the indigenous and exotic) do extremely well in the County. The mango tree is just about the only tree that is completely green and flowering when the area is driest.
Research Conducted by JKUAT University Shows that, Mwingi District has one of the highest population of Indigenous mangoes in the whole country. However, the same research has also showed that, 8 out of every 10 ripe mangoes go to waste while in the hands of farmers. Again, during the mango peak season, a sack of ripe mangoes fetches a paltry Kshs. 100/- (One Hundred).
Again, here our Strategy is two fold: Establishment of tree nurseries, (mainly for mango other fruits and indigenous trees) through CBOs, SHGs and Environmental Clubs in Schools. 6 of the 19 CBOs have demonstration nurseries, and we are supporting them with polythene papers. By the end of 2009, we are planning to have planted 100,000 new seedlings, pruned and top worked another 10,000 mature mangoes. Planted 1million indigenous trees.
The Key Steps to our approach:
STEP 1: Quality Control:
- This is being done right from the farm level, where farmers are being trained by our field extension officers on good mango / fruit husbandry (including organic pest control).
- Once the mango fruits are delivered by the farmers at the factory, very stringent hygiene measures are put in place with the view to ensuring that the final products are not only wholesome but are completely fit for human consumption.
STEP 2: Main Products from the Mango Fruit:
Currently we are specializing in making two broad types of products:
- Solar dried mangoes:
- Pulp for local use and for sale to other processers;
STEP 3: Other Products:
- Plans are underway to also start processing other fruits (including oranges, guavas, lemons and even pineapples).
- We will also be processing assorted fortified flours (mostly from millet and sorghum, cassava and amaranth) all to be acquired from the local farmers, thereby enhancing their incomes and ability to cope with climate change.
STEP 4: Sales and Marketing
- Currently, we are selling most of our products locally, but we are interested in seeking for export opportunities, especially mangoes, hence the main reason for this write up.
- As the saying goes, “the customer is King”. We Plan to carry out a Comprehensive Market Research to serve as our baseline and to guide in the design and implementation of our three (3) year Marketing Strategy and Plan.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD THE MANGO FLAKES PRODUCT DATA SHEET