Kenya has received US $84,000 from the Japanese government as donation towards the construction of Marakwet fruit factory in Marakwet County in western Kenya.
Second Secretary at the Embassy of Japan in Kenya Fumiaki Hirai, confirmed the reports and said that the factory will enable farmers to add value to their crops, reduce the wastage of farm products especially fruits at times when the harvest is plenty, provide a sustainable market and a fair price which in overall shall increase farmers’ income.
Construction works on the project include; construction of a fruit processing factory and installation of a fruit gas dryer at AIC Cheptebo rural development center who has also pledged to inject US $27,000 into the project. The entire project is expected to cost roughly US $110 000.
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Benefits of the factory to fruit farmers
Ms. Ayumi Yamamoto, The managing director at Kenya Fruit Solutions (KFS)
said that they will provide a market for 10 tons of apple mangoes annually which translates to 300,000 pieces. The cooperation has also signed an agreement with the AIC Cheptebo rural development center to increase the cost of a piece of mango from US $0.05 to US $0.12.
Mr. Joseph Kimeli the Centre Director said that the factory will provide direct employment opportunities to between 30 and 50 local people. “In general the factory, when complete, shall improve the economy of 8,000 farmers living and operating across the Kerio Valley and those who have between 70,000 and 100,000 mango trees,” he concluded.
Changes to the Initial plan
The initial plan was to construct a factory that would only deal with mango fruits but according to Mr. Kimeli, they were advised to include other fruits and horticultural products to ensure sustainability of operations when mangoes are out of season.
He however stressed that they have not found market for the other farm products they plan to process in the factory but he is positive they will land on one as they have for mangoes.