Tana River commissions Kshs. 200M fruit processing plant

A Kshs. 200 million fruit processing firm has been commissioned in Hola, Tana River County in what is expected to provide farmers with ready market and cut post-harvest losses.

The integrated fruit factory which was commissioned by Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata said the factory plant was set up and would be operated by the Coast Development Authority (CDA) to provide a ready market for mango farmers in Tana River County.

The fruit factory when fully operational will have capacity to process 30 metric tonnes of mangoes a day , employing 30 direct workers and providing 2,250 mango collectors serving the plant.

According to Elungata said the fruit processing factory will in the long run improve farmers’ livelihoods and also create jobs for locals.

The coast administrator who was accompanied by Tana River Governor Major (rtd) Dhadho Godhana,Galole MP Said Buya Hiribae, Coast Development Authority (CDA) MD Dr. Mohamed Keinan,Tana River County Commissioner Mr Mbogai Rioba among other National and County Government officials said the factory is good news for the people of Tana River who grow plenty of mangoes but have no viable market for them.

He said the plant will help mango farmers in providing a market for their mango fruits by addressing post-harvest loss by salvaging any surplus mango fruits from going to waste, leverage on value addition and increase farmers profitability.

Elungata who is the chairman of the Coast Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee (RDICC) said the venture would be a ‘game changer’ and would boost local farmers’ incomes through value adding of their mango fruits and in the long run fight poverty.

The administrator who is also a member of the CDA board of directors hinted that plans are now on top gear in preparations for the official launch of the factory by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta but didn’t give the exact date.

On his part CDA MD Dr.Mohamed Keinan said the plant has a capacity of producing 1 tonne of mango pulp per hour and the machine will be operated eight hour per day nonstop.

CDA said the fruit juice processing plant has been upgraded to include a water production line and will be operating 24 hours in three shifts which will lead in creating more employment to the locals to work in the factory.

Dr.Keinan disclosed plans are underway to upgrade the factory to a multi-fruit juice facility to include processing pineapples and other fruits grown locally in the region.

The MD urged the local farmers to ensure steady supply of raw materials saying it signals good news for local mango and pineapple farmers.

Tana River Governor Major (rtd) Dhadho Godhana lauded the initiative saying the project falls in his development agenda of opening up cottage industries in cluster villages in his county which are supposed to bolster the communities’ economically.

Godhana said the commissioned fruit processing factory is in line with President Uhuru Big Four Agenda in the area of food security and manufacturing with the main aim of focusing on job creation among the community.

The Governor said plans are underway for the official launch of the Hola integrated fruit processing by President Uhuru Kenyatta while also launching the village cluster programmes which is supposed to revive industries in agriculture sector in the areas of livestock, mariculture and apiculture among others.

Galole Member of Parliament Hon Said Hiribae lauded the government for initiating the mango fruit project which he said will provide a ready market to farmers in his constituency.

Hiribae said the factory has addressed the transport challenge which was occasioned by farmers while taking their fruits to the markets which are very far in Mombasa and Nairobi.

PHOTO | Courtesy

The legislator said the fruit project will act as an important source of economic growth and job creation to foster poverty reduction in his constituency and urged for the expansion of the factory to accommodate all farmers in Tana River County.

Hiribae said the fruit project will help in addressing and protecting mango farmers from exploitative brokers who used to milk them by buying their fruits at throw away price. He said Mango farmers in Tana River will now pocket better earnings for their produce and provide a steady income from their self-employment in Agriculture.

  

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