Mangoes are quite critical to the economy of Kenya’s Makueni County. However, its exports are still missing out on the lucrative global business. With Makueni as the leading county in mango production, contributing up to 31 per cent of the total fruits that Kenya produces, a more lateral move into the international mango market would represent a great move forward.
Robert Kisyula, CEC Agriculture, told businessdailyafrica.com: “Right now the amount exported is two per cent of the total production of 184,000 tonnes produced annually, which is a small fraction.”
Part of the reason for a slow uptake on the export market was because of a self-imposed ban by Kenya in 2010 after experiencing a bout of mango fruit fly that risked Kenya’s produce being banned in Europe, which is its main market before the moratorium.
“It was easier to pull out ourselves than being banned by markets in Europe. We hope that we will be able to reopen the EU market this year,” Kisyula said The ban had a serious impact on the price of mangoes locally with a kilo going for as low as Sh5 with disgruntled farmers failing to take their crop to the market, leading to post-harvest losses.