Tana River, Kenya – Tana River County, a region where mango farming is a primary source of livelihood, has witnessed the inauguration of the Integrated Fruit Processing Plant (IFPP), a project aimed at reducing post-harvest losses and boosting the local economy. This Sh245 million development by the Coast Development Authority (CDA) marks a significant advancement for the mango farming community in the area.
According to Kenya News Agency, the project, which began in 2017, faced delays due to financial constraints and other challenges. The upgrade of the integrated fruit processing plant includes the installation of a pulp processing plant, the construction of auxiliary facilities, and a waste management system. The facility is now equipped to mechanize mango processing into pulp at a rate of 1.5 metric tons per hour, a significant improvement from its previous manually operated capacity.
Malonza highlighted that the launch of the plant aligns with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) on agriculture, aiming to reduce post-harvest losses for farmers. In Tana River County, mangoes are crucial to the local economy, supporting over 30,000 households. Farmers in the region harvest over 50,000 tons per season, with more than 35,000 tons transported to markets and industries in Mombasa, Garissa, and Nairobi. However, a substantial portion of the produce has been unsold or wasted due to lack of buyers, a challenge that the new plant aims to address.
The plant’s inauguration is seen as a beacon of hope for farmers, expected to significantly reduce post-harvest losses and bring economic stability. It is set to contribute to economic development by providing employment opportunities for locals, creating market outlets for farmers, generating income from fruit farming, and adding value to fruits. The ‘Tana Gold’ mango pulp produced by the plant is packaged in sizes suitable for small businesses and industrial use.
Additionally, to ensure year-round operation and sustainability, a water bottling component with a capacity to process 1,000 liters per hour of purified water has been introduced. This component will complement pulp processing, especially outside the main mango season, which runs from October to March. Malonza emphasized the plant’s commitment to efficient water management and responsible resource utilization.
The establishment of the IFPP in Tana River County represents a significant step forward in the agricultural sector, promising economic growth and sustainability for the local community.