WFE empowers a woman entrepreneur in Kisumu County

WFE empowers a woman entrepreneur in Kisumu County

Young woman entrepreneur tells of her experience during the Global Food Challenges Programme Second Mid-Term Review (MTR) meeting in Nairobi. (small subtitle)

This interview was conducted by Ms. Eunice Likoko, University of Amsterdam (UvA) Ph.D. Student.

Jennifer Atieno is a woman entrepreneur and a farmer in Kisumu. She came to know about the Women Food Entrepreneurs research project in the first field familiarization visits by the Ph.D. researchers with community-based women groups in Kisumu city slums.  In January 2018, she participated in the Food and Business Knowledge Platform Second Mid Term Review meeting in Nairobi and this was her comment: “I learned new ways on how as a farmer and entrepreneur I can improve food and nutrition plus generate income. The meeting also enlightened me on new food preservation methods.”


Forum calls for acceleration of agricultural policy in Kenya

The first Agricultural Industry Forum (AIF) and exhibition was officially opened on March 3, 2020, at the Nairobi Hospital Convention Centre. The forum called on designing and incorporating more innovative technologies and increased investment by the private sector stakeholders in the agribusiness sector.

The conference main aim was to provide a national platform for discussions on how best to strengthen and sustain effective partnerships in the agricultural sector in the context of devolution.

Speaking at the opening of the Forum, Israel Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Oded Joseph stated that they will continue to partner with Kenya in undertaking agricultural activities. “Israel being a world leader in the field of agriculture, it will continue to be a significant partner in creating capacity-building opportunities between the two countries.”

He added that in order for an economy to be sustainable and economically viable, the business sector has to play a vital role, the youth have to be involved and basic infrastructures have to be set up to support the agriculture sector.

During the forum, the Chairman of Agricultural Industry Network, Mr. Edward Mudibo called on fast-tracking of the national agricultural policy, which revolves around the main objectives of increasing productivity and income growth, especially for smallholders; enhanced food security and equity, emphasis on irrigation to introduce stability in agricultural output, commercialization and intensification of production, especially among small scale farmers.

Mr. Mudibo noted that platforms, where the private sector, national and county government can activate new strategic partnerships, need to be created for transformational change within the Kenyan agribusiness sector. He also highlighted that governance and the role of cooperatives need to be rethought.

The other key message that came out of the forum was the need to make agriculture attractive to the youth so as to reduce the unemployment crisis. There was the need to develop guidelines for public-private partnerships(PPPs) between county government and the private sector, and actionable strategies to improve the agribusiness sector.

Moreover, the government will establish six agro-processing units within each economic bloc across the country. The units will be developed using a one-stop-shop rapid Public-Private Partnership(PPP) process for local and export markets.

Agricycle East Africa, CABE partners to empower women and youth in fruit agribusiness

On January 31, the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship signed a partnership agreement with Agricycle East Africa Limited to empower smallholder farmers, women, and youth by creating market linkages for value-added fruits.

Agricycle East Africa Ltd is a social enterprise subsidiary of Agricycle Global specializing in fruit processing and marketing to create sustainable business relations for women empowerment.

The three-year agreement entails designing projects, resource mobilization, and creating collaborative platforms for learning and knowledge exchange on fruit agribusiness, women empowerment, deployment of technologies and equipment for fruit drying and capacity building.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Executive Director CABE, Dr. Hannigton Odame said “This MoU complements CABE’s activities in facilitating market linkages, capacity building and training, research, and policy processes. On the other hand, it allows Agricycle East Africa to partner with CABE-affiliated farmer groups to alleviate poverty through agri-preneurship and provide food safety and health standards in fruit processing and marketing activities.”

After signing the MoU, the two organizations will develop an implementation strategy alongside a resource mobilization strategy. In the first phase, the partners will engage farmer groups in Western Kenya and eventually scale-out in other counties, which produce plenty of fruits but have inadequate market linkages.

“We will now move to create an action plan for the first year of the MoU implementation and develop Standard Operating Procedures in efforts to mobilize resources and provide technical and social activities from each organization,” Agricycle East African Director, Mr. Patrick Nderitu stated.

Also, the two organizations will invest in women and youth empowerment to build their agribusiness skills, provide access to market linkages and access to agri-financing.

CABE successfully hosts APRA Annual workshop 2019

The Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) successfully hosted the APRA Annual Review and Planning Workshop in Naivasha from 2-6 December 2019. Members of the three APRA workstreams and APRA Consortium, stationed at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), also participated.

The theme of this year’s workshop was Impact, Communications, and Engagement (ICE).  It aimed at reviewing tactics and strategies for communicating policy-relevant insights and evidence ‘nuggets’ emerging from the APRA studies to key stakeholders and clarifying pathways to impact.

During the workshop, the Accompanied Learning for Relevance and Effectiveness (ALRE) initiative was officially launched, which aims to improve engagement efforts, trace influence, and identify lessons for improving future programming within APRA.

Highlights from the workshop include: review of progress on APRA research activities during the year related to Work Stream 1 (panel studies), Work Stream 2 (longitudinal studies) and Work Stream 3 (policy studies). Presentation of policy-relevant insights evidence from the Work Stream studies related to the APRA Outcome Indicators and cross-cutting themes; clarification of engagement priorities and plans from the Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) and Theory of Change (ToC) workshops to bring about outcome-level change, and discussions on hosting APRA phase 2.

It was noted that there are high levels of commercialisation of oil palm in South-Western Ghana due to specialisation and highly stratified oil palm economy by gender, generation, and class.

Comparing food-based versus tobacco-led agricultural commercialisation in Zimbabwe, Vine Mutyasira observed that tobacco-led commercialisation resulted in higher returns leading to whole-farm productivity-enhancing investments in technologies, livestock, and assets.

In the case of long-term change in cocoa commercialisation in Ghana, Joseph Yaro mentioned that the private and state sector investment can boost access to technical innovation for intensification of production thus improved incomes for cocoa farmers.

From the longitudinal analysis of sunflower commercialisation in Singida, Tanzania, Christopher Magomba highlighted that the sustainability of sunflower commercialisation and productivity has led to low uptake of inputs such as fertiliser and seeds, low purchasing power; limited access to extension services leading to low yields and competition from alternative annual crops (maize, green gram).

Rice commercialisation has ensured household and the community food security and considerable change in the livelihood options for smallholder rice farmers in the Fogera plains of Ethiopia. This change contributed to rise in rice processors from 1 in 1997 to 123 in 2018, increased employment opportunities especially for casual labourers and interdependence of rice production and labour markets and 93% of the processors became rice sole proprietors recording average value of 360 thousand birr/processor. Whereas in Tanzania, intensification was mentioned as a solution to small and medium-scale farmers in rice commercialisation.

Speaking on the political economy of growth corridors and agricultural commercialisation, Ngala Chome, a PhD candidate, said, “There are diverse pathways to commercialisation along the growth corridors and they range from the establishment of estates/plantation to the creation of block farms and cooperative groups, to contract farming arrangements, which emerge through infrastructure development.” He added that ethnic politics play a critical role, as claims over resources are contested between indigenous groups and the state.

Presenting on behalf of Jodie and Seife, John Thompson mentioned that good incentives (e.g. financial guarantees) can increase the role of small to mid-sized enterprise (SME) agribusinesses in commercialisation pathways rather than policy uptake.

In order to empower the youth, the emphasis was placed on providing more programs or schooling to millions of young people in order to reduce rural-urban migration, the former highlighted in this Ghana-based youth engagement blog.

Looking ahead to Phase 2, DFID’s Howard Standen advised the team to be persistent and use personal relationships or existing champions, such as the African Union Commission, Advisory person, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission. Ethiopia, Dr. Janet Edeme and the ‘to push for regional and national debates contribution in agricultural commercialisation.

Regarding agricultural transformation and wealth creation, APRA can explore strategies for incorporating the ALRE initiative in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

Click here for information on the 2018 APRA Annual Review Workshop, held in Accra, Ghana.

By Mercy Nduati, CABE Communications Officer

Busia County to host Rice Research Centre

Busia County to host Rice Research Centre

In efforts to boost production and marketing, the Venezuelan government has funded the construction of a rice research institute in Budalang’i, Busia county. The Kshs. 400 million institute aims to develop new breeds for lowland rice ecologies and their major market segments, including good grain quality and tolerance to major biotic and abiotic stresses.

Rice is fast becoming a regular food in most Kenyan households. It is a strategic commodity and the fastest-growing food source in Africa.

According to a published post in the local dailies, Busia County will maximize its production through value addition and boost uptake of rice in the market. Also, it will create employment opportunities for the locals and identify the best rice varieties for specific regions in the county.

Previously, Busia farmers were forced to sell their produce at low prices for fear of incurring losses from poor storage and lack of proper mechanized facilities.

Busia will be the only county in Kenya to benefit from the funding from Venezuela Government together with Madagascar Island. Madagascar has already completed its project, while Kenya is still at the design stage. The Ministry of Public Works is expected to hand over the designs to the contractor once complete.

Currently, the consumption of rice is at 440,000 metric tons per year but Kenya is only producing 140,000 metric tons per year, meaning that the rest of the rice is imported to other countries like Pakistan and Thailand.

Mini-Farming book on Women Food Entrepreneurs: A case of Kenya and Burkina Faso

By Hannington Odame,

This book provides an all-inclusive approach to farming in small spaces, especially in urban, and peri-urban areas. The book contains food recipes of African indigenous vegetables and fish from the Lake Victoria region of Kenya.

The ‘Women Food Entrepreneurs book’, consisting of 8 chapters, is based on a research project undertaken by multidisciplinary experts between 2015-2019 in city slums in Kisumu, Kenya and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Women Food Entrepreneurs (WFEs) research project was implemented by social and natural scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Kenya and Burkina Faso, as well as with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community-based women groups. The project aimed to strengthen women’s food entrepreneurship in city slums based on an understanding of the interactions between soil quality, food production and marketing for vulnerable groups.

The book focuses on six themes comprising constraints on women food entrepreneurs, soil, water, and food quality interactions. It also integrates women’s knowledge on food production and processing to add value and enhance business skills. This chapter presents important ways to improve market access, contribute to the development of enabling policies for women food entrepreneurs as well as share lessons and best practices for upscaling (Ch 6). In efforts to contribute to development of the private sector, the book presents opportunities whereby women farmers can strengthen their position in the value chain and business knowledge and skills and networks.

In view of the findings, the book proposes recommendations for consideration in policy making processes. A few outstanding recommendations include first the need to recognize women food entrepreneurs’ role in the provision of fresh foods to city populations. Secondly, women food entrepreneurs’ innovative traditional and scientific knowledge in food production, processing and marketing should be valued, documented and upscaled. In this regard, this book highlights two stories of change. In the first one, a leading female trader champions the use of organic fertilizer among WFEs and subsequently gets nominated as a finalist for the Agrofood Broker of the Year Award. The second story highlights different policy moments in which some of the books’ recommendations have informed policy making by Kisumu County government.

Finally, the book presents the project’s impacts which can be upscaled. A notable impact is the ‘Connector-model’, which arose from the continued involvement of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs); the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Nairobi; Victoria Institute for Research on Environment and Development (VIRED) International, Kisumu; Ėtudes Actions Conseils (EAC) in Burkina Faso; Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands; Netherlands Agro, Food &Technology Centre (NAFTC) Africa; Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics(IBED), the Netherlands; Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Germany; Dresden University of Technology, Tharandt, Germany; BodemBergsma, the Netherlands; Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Burkina Faso; Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), and University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands. The model has successfully connected WFE groups with each other as well as with the public and the private through innovation and capacity building. The result is stronger synergy among the Women Food Entrepreneurs for an inclusive business model. The Annex, provides illustrations of food recipes of African indigenous vegetables and fish from the Lake Victoria region of Kenya. The food recipes are both English and dholuo.

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Research Programme Consortium Agricultural Policy Research in Africa

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Research Programme Consortium Agricultural Policy Research in Africa

APRA  in Partnership With Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE),



About the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Research Programme Consortium Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a new, five-year, Research Programme Consortium (RPC), includes regional hubs at the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Kenya among other partners in the region, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and will run from 2016-2022. The new programme will be based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK ( ) and will build on more than a decade of research and policy engagement work by the Future Agricultures Consortium ( ).

APRA aims to produce new information and insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in order to assess their impacts and outcomes on rural poverty, women’s and girl’s empowerment and food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Consortium has four interlinked objectives: 

  1. generating high-quality evidence on pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa, using a rigorous mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. 
  2. undertaking policy research on agricultural commercialisation to fill key evidence gaps and define policy options. 
  3. ensuring the sharing and uptake of research by a diverse range of stakeholders. 
  4. strengthening the capacity of the research team, and associated partner institutions, to deliver high-quality research and advice. 

Beginning in mid-2016, APRA is work in six focal countries across East, West and Southern Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe), representing both DFID priority countries and New Alliance countries.

The APRA Coordination Team is led by John Thompson, senior Research Fellow in the Rural Futures Cluster at IDS (Chief Executive Officer) and Ephraim Chirwa, Professor of Economics at the University of Malawi (Research Director), along with Regional Coordinators based in Ghana (Joseph Yaro), Kenya (Hannington Odame) and South Africa (Cyriaque Hakizimana and Ruth Hall), an Impact, Communications and Engagement Coordinator (Beatrice Ouma) and a Programme Manager (Oliver Burch). Together, they have extensive experience in leading complex, multi-country, cross-disciplinary, research programmes in Africa.

At the core of the APRA Consortium is a commitment to academic excellence, policy impact, stakeholder engagement and value for money, rooted in long-term partnerships and a solid regional base. In order to achieve its objectives, the programme will work in sites that examine diverse pathways of commercialisation (influenced by the relationship to markets and scales of operation) and linked to different types of commercialisation (e.g. estates, medium-scale commercial farming, contract farming and smallholder commercialisation). 

Consortium researchers will carry out in-depth studies in contrasting sites with varying levels of commercialisation intensity and longevity (i.e. established/ mature vs. recent/emerging sites of commercialisation) and different market connections and infrastructure. To analyse and understand these contrasts, the APRA researchers will employ a combination of quantitative (including quasi-experimental) and qualitative (including participatory and ethnographic) research methods and policy analysis tools to examine different types or forms of commercialisation, including comparing low-value staples, high-value horticulture, and industrial and export crops, and their differential outcome.


CABE in conjunction with Tegemeo Institute is organizing a two-day workshop on Strengthening Seed Systems and Market Development.

Seed systems in Africa south of the Sahara have been a central topic in the public discourse as part of wider conversations on policy options for agriculture and rural development. Although seed systems in the region have followed different development trajectories, they do seem to be affected by political economy, farming system, agroecological, and market development factors that policymakers and stakeholders must address if the systems are to thrive. Political economy issues appear to shape the debate, including limited support for agricultural research, restrictive regulations and inadequate capacity of regulatory agencies, and weak vertical and horizontal coordination among different key actors. Political economy refers to actors and coalitions of actors with competing perspectives, interests, and resources shaping seed policy change processes in each country and for each crop (see Hassena et al. (2016) and Alemu (2011) on Ethiopia). Policy and regulatory reforms are purported to facilitate increased production, delivery, and uptake of improved seeds and technologies. Influencing government agencies to initiate the review of existing and enact new policies involves many stakeholders including a range of seed industry players such as regulatory agencies, parliament, agricultural technical groups, government policy directorates, public and private research agencies and seed associations.

Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development of Egerton University and Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) in partnership with International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) conducted a study between June and October 2019 to assess the pace and dynamics of policy change and the factors that affect the development of maize and potato seed systems and of markets in Kenya. The study involved a review of key policy, regulatory, and strategy documents relevant to seed system and market development in the country, with a focus on the progress made in strengthening maize and potato seed systems and markets and political economy factors that have influenced policy adoption and outcomes. The review was augmented with information from key informant interviews and focus group discussions with a wide range of actors in the respective seed systems.

The workshop will be at Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi on 19th and 20th July 2022



High-level policy forum to explore youth employment opportunities in agribusiness

High-level policy forum to explore youth employment opportunities in agribusiness

The Centre for African Bio-entrepreneurship (CABE) on behalf of the Utafiti Sera Consortium convened a workshop to explore employment opportunities for youth in agribusiness along Kenya’s mango value chain.

The workshop which was held from 26th – 27th July 2021 brought together the projects’ funding organization Partnership for African Social & Governance Research (PASGR) and implementing partners CABE and Alternatives Africa, and representatives from National and County governments, the youth, and other stakeholders to further the use of evidence to inform youth employment policies.

Participants listen to Workshop proceedings

The workshop, held at Travellers Beach Hotel, Mombasa explored how the findings of a study conducted by the project can be domesticated to complement existing regulatory frameworks such as the Makueni County Development Action Plan and the Kenya youth agribusiness strategy.

This workshop will contribute to informed policymaking in agribusiness to increase youth employment in the agriculture sector.

Youth Employment Creation Through Sustainable Agribusiness – Lessons from evidence-informed policy convening

Youth Employment Creation Through Sustainable Agribusiness – Lessons from evidence-informed policy convening

Youth unemployment remains a major challenge in Kenya, perpetuating the country’s socioeconomic problems such as poverty and hunger. Unchecked, the International Labour Organization fears that youth unemployment, currently estimated at 35 per cent of the population, will double by 2045.

The problem of joblessness in Kenya has been fuelled by the global COVID-19 pandemic, whose effects such as business closure have led to massive job losses in Kenya and across the globe. Increasingly, job losses have led many people to seek alternative employment sources in sectors that may be seen as informal or unattractive, especially for youth.

Agribusiness offers hope, providing the highest level of informal employment in Kenya and contributing 25-34 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. However, although agriculture employs approximately 60 per cent of Kenya’s labour force, the Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy estimates that only 10 per cent of the youth engage in agribusiness. The apparent lack of interest in agribusiness by the youth has been attributed to negative youth perception towards agriculture and a lack of sustainable programmes and policies to steer the growth of the agriculture sector.

An enabling environment, robust evidence and facilitative partnerships are essential factors in expanding employment opportunities for the youth in agribusiness.

The effectiveness of the partnership dimension was demonstrated in a recent collaborative convening which I was lucky to attend. The convening – Institutionalising a culture of Evidence-Informed Policy Making in Africa: Co-Creating, Learning Together – convened by Partnership for African Social Governance and Research (PASGR) brought together its collaborative houses under its innovative evidence-to-policy programme Utafiti Sera. The programme brings together communities of practice and interest or what the programme lead Dr M Atela refers to as ‘epistemic communities’ or ‘houses’ and provides end-to-end solutions to the gap between evidence and policy/programme action. Currently, the houses are using evidence to support stakeholder interests in polemic policy areas such as Youth Employment Creation, Urban Governance, water governance, protests in the energy sector and women voices in local leadership.

Dr. Hannington Odame, during Inter-house collaborative and reflection forum, presenting on youth employment creation in Agribusiness and Agro-processing

Although the forum discussed different topics, I will highlight discussions by the Centre for African Bio entrepreneurship (CABE) and Alternative Africa, which addressed youth employment creation in agribusiness and agro-processing along the mango and potato value chains in Nyandarua, West Pokot and Makueni counties. Through partnerships, the two houses accomplished remarkable success. For instance, the first public participation by the youth of Makueni County, providing their input to the Amendment of the Makueni Fruit Development and Marketing Regulations 2020 Act Youth Forum. The youth also formed WhatsApp groups comprised of youth in potato and mango value chains. The platforms facilitate peer-to-peer learning and have been instrumental in bridging a vital evidence gap by building a database for agribusiness Micro, small and medium enterprises.

Despite these successes, my attention was also drawn to challenges faced by the youth in these value chains. Researchers presented evidence on the challenges through different case studies on the value chains. A case in point is Uganda, where the sorghum value chain was strengthened by a brewery that contracted farmers to produce quality sorghum at agreed prices. This was important because it increased the quantity and quality of sorghum produced and stabilised commodity prices.

A value chain analysis in the Philippines revealed a need for fishermen to supply a uniform size of fish per the fishing regulations. In Rwanda, a dairy chain analysis revealed a need for milk cooling points and increased collaboration between dairy firms and farmers   (Norton,2014).

The above case studies suggest that sustainable agricultural value chains can reform agribusiness in Kenya, leading to inclusivity and beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders, including the private sector, the government, farmers and the consumers. The ensuing policy environment could be modelled around the socioeconomic, political, and ethical dimensions to achieve sustainable and programmes on youth employment.

But how then can this be achieved? This calls for capacity sharing (such as the peer-to-peer learning initiated by youths in this programme), meaningful stakeholder engagement, collaborations, and co-production. In addition, government support (financial and technical) to small scale farmers, provision of storage facilities, quality seeds, and access to land, water, and the market would cause a shift from subsistence farming to commercialisation.

Such reforms may cumulatively seal the gaps in the current agricultural systems and strategies and increase revenue first to the youth and then the government.

I want to acknowledge PASGR for its efforts in creating a space where the houses get to learn from each other and, most importantly, the importance of institutionalising the use of evidence in policymaking, specifically in agribusiness, as discussed in this blog.    

Blog by: Marion Otieno -Biochemist and currently an intern at PASGR

Juicing for jobs: Improving mango processing for youth job creation

Juicing for jobs: Improving mango processing for youth job creation

Mango processing can create thousands of jobs for the youth in Kenya, potentially reducing the country’s youth unemployment rate of 7.27 percent (ILO, 2020). This statement is consistent with the findings of a study by the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) under the auspices of Utafiti Sera House III on Youth Employment Creation in Agribusiness and Agro-processing in Kenya. The urgent need for job opportunities along the mango value chain is timely in view of changing demographics and the increased number of Kenya’s health-conscious middle class.

The study, funded by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), found that there are rising lifestyle changes in diet choices, demand for quality products, entertainment, eating, and spending habits.

Such changes can be seen for instance, in different urban and peri-urban eateries, supermarket shelves, and food markets which increasingly sell natural and processed juices. These lifestyle changes are projected to continue to drive the average growth in domestic demand for juice which the International Trade Centre reports (ITC, 2014) to be 49 percent per annum.     

Demand for quality juice

To effectively meet this increased demand for juice, Kenya imports U$5,395,000 worth of mango pulp annually, further threatening to stagnate the domestic mango industry. If the industry is to meet the demand for quality juice, there is need to trace quality back to the very bottom of the mango value chain – the farmers. A farmer can only produce quality fruits by planting quality varieties using and recommended agronomic practices. Once the variety and quality of mango seedling is right, there is need to use appropriate processing technology, but this also faces various challenges which need to be addressed.

The major stumbling blocks

The study, conducted between December 2017 and 2020 confirmed ITC’s statement that ‘’… [O]ver a long time, the Country [Kenya] has relied on the traditional fresh market domestically and internationally with little attention given to processed products.’’ Production and marketing of mangoes also face various challenges such as use of poor-quality planting material and production practices, weak agricultural extension, high post-harvest losses, weak linkages with industry policies, marketing deficiencies and lack of finance. Cumulatively, these challenges lead to inadequate quality and quantity of mangoes for processing, forcing Kenya to import mango pulp for processing mango juice. This not only contributes to unemployment in the mango value chain but also leads to loss of national income which could otherwise be channeled to the development agenda of the mango sector and beyond.

A youth in a nursery in Makueni County photo credit: PASGR/CABE Photographer

Based on findings of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with the youth in Makueni and West Pokot Counties, the study revealed that there are job opportunities for the youth in an integrated services provision comprising of tree seedlings, extension, mango orchard expansion (new trees), augmentation (grafting varieties) and gradually replacing old orchards of table or fresh mango varieties with varieties suitable for processing as good starting point in dealing with these challenges. In addition, the study confirmed that mango processing offers a solution to the high post-harvest losses experienced in the main production areas, provides a market for the second-grade fruits and can potentially drive the much-needed reforms in the value chain.

Why mango processing?

Processing will increase availability and consumption of locally-produced mango juice, reduce post-harvest losses, increase efficiency in the value chain and employ the youth in input supply, spraying, packing, aggregating and marketing.

The ensuing effective and efficient mango value chain will strengthen linkages between farmers and processors. As a result, farmers will benefit from price incentives, market and product diversification. In addition, most farmersin Kenya already recognize thatNgowe’ mango variety is suitable for processing. As a result, cultivation of this variety offers potential for Kenya to undergo import substitution and source locally the required amount of mango juice. The subsequent benefits such as high quality and safety standardswill increase thescale and quality of mangoes produced. This could also create export opportunity for Kenya in regional markets such as Sudan, which currently imports mango juice from India (ITC, 2014)

What do we stand to lose if we do not process mangoes?

The magnitude of this question can be felt more now that we are in the peak of May-August mango season. During such seasons, markets across the country experience surplus in supply of mangoes which come with prices as low as less than Ksh 10 per fruit. In addition, most farmers suffer high post-harvest losses since mangoes are highly perishable. On a bigger scale, the opportunity cost of foreign exchange earnings spent on mango imports for juicing is U$ 5,395,000 per annum. It is projected that effective and efficient mango value chain will create 3, 200,000 jobs per year.


Ultimately, processing will increase domestic demand for ‘Ngowe’ mango varieties. Increased demand, will increase the prices of the fruit and consequently increase income for farmers who will in turn seek quality mango varieties. The spill-over of activities will work to streamline the entire value chain by strengthening extension service delivery in terms of personnel, messaging coordination in the production, processing and marketing activities. This calls for a need to strengthen linkages with industrial policies (agro-processing), improve markets of fresh and processed mangoes including investments in establishing aggregation, cold storage and transport infrastructure as well as improving access to finance for youth entrepreneurs to create jobs for themselves and others along the different segments of the mango value chain in the country.


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