Sweet fruits of value addition
Erick Ndwiga, a group member, owns more than 500 mango trees of the Kent, Tommy Atkins and Van Dyke varieties.
He initially sold his mangoes through brokers, but the processing project has now provided him with ready market.
Determined to overcome exploitation, members of Karurumo Self-Help Group started processing their fruits at a member’s house, until 2015 after acquiring value addition skills following training by German organisation, GIZ, which was working with farmers in the region.
“We, thereafter, bought land at Sh450,000, built a solar dryer at Sh500,000 and established the other structures at a total cost of Sh2 million, the money which came from members contributions and a loan from a bank,” says Mbogo.
Before the processing begins, the fruits are peeled before being sliced into smaller pieces. They are then put in the pulping machine for pulping after which the pulp is pasteurised.
However, to make the juice, the pulp is mixed with other ingredients such as sugar, water and preservatives in the right ratios depending on the type of product then, package.
Members of the Karurumo Self Help Group display products they made before their establishment was upgraded and modernised. Dr Jane Ambuko who heads the Yieldwise-funded project says in addition to the upgrades in the establishment, they have offered the group training on good manufacturing practices. PHOTO | BRIAN OKINDA | NMG
They process about 100kg of each of the products per day. The group had their facility recently upgraded by the Rockefeller Foundation through the YieldWise Project in partnership with the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT), and TechnoServe at Sh20m .
George Mathenge, the technician for the project, says they intend to embark on making processed mango chips which are dried, packaged and sold, jam and mango crisps. “We also plan to work with the Export Promotion Council to explore possibilities of exporting dried fruits,” notes Mbogo.
Dr Jane Ambuko, Yieldwise’s team leader in Kenya and the head of horticulture at the Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, University of Nairobi, says in addition to the upgrades in the establishment, they have offered the group training on good manufacturing practices.
According to Dr Willis Owino, who works with the Department of Food Science and Technology at JKUAT, and also the manager of Food Technology Centre (FOTEC), value addition and produce processing, are key aspects in reducing postharvest losses in the country and hence boosting its food security.
Value addition and food processing are key aspects that can be employed in alleviating this phenomenon as they boost produces’ shelf stability such that whenever there is glut, these perishables such as vegetables and fruits are processed and preserved and can be used later, according to Dr Jane Ambuko.