KENYA – Makueni County in Eastern Kenya has commenced pulping of tomatoes at its fruit processing plant which has been producing mango puree.
The diversification move is aimed to guarantee continuous production at the plant especially when mangoes run out of season, a time that nearly shut operations of the factory.
“The Makueni Fruit Processing Plant has today commenced pulping of tomatoes. This will guarantee it’s continuous production even when mangoes run out of season,” said Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana.
He was speaking when he hosted the European Union Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue to a tour of the processing plant where they witnessed the commencement of tomato pulping at the factory, reports Kilimo News.
The envoy commended Makueni’s Agricultural Value Addition Programs and made a commitment to help the county secure the EU market for its products.
“It gives me great pleasure to see how devolution is transforming the lives of Kenyans. Through our IDEAS project, farmers will deliver their produce to Makueni Fruit Processing Plant for conversion to ready to market products.
“The fruits Cooperative can now go to buyers directly, avoiding the low prices offered by middlemen. This has stabilised prices, and now a tomato processing line is operational,” said Mordue.
The Makueni Fruit Processing Plant was established by the County government in 2017 to stem wastage and raise incomes for fruit farmers in the county which has so far benefited over 12,000 families.
“The Makueni Fruit Processing Plant has today commenced pulping of tomatoes. This will guarantee it’s continuous production even when mangoes run out of season.”Makueni County Governor – Kivutha Kibwana
The County leads in mango production in Kenya with a total of 4,311,375 mango trees grown by 28,696 farmers. According to statistics 30%-40% of mango produce was going to waste.
To spear head the initiative, the European Union extended US$1.1m financing in 2018.
The county was the first to benefit from an EU and Kenyan government agreement to fund economic projects across 15 counties under the Instrument for Devolution Advice and Support (IDEAS) programme.
In line with the project, the plant is set to start producing ready to drink juice as it seeks to add value to much of the fruit produce in our county
The new line has a processing capacity of 8,000 litres per hour and refine ready to drink juice.
This is an addition to the already existing line processing 5 metric tons of raw mangoes producing 3,000 liters of Puree (Mango concentrate) per hour which when diluted will be used to make read to drink juice.
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