3,000 small-scale mango growers have secured a profitable new market for their produce, thanks to support provided by Self Help Africa’s ‘AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund’ to a rurally based fruit and veg processor in the country.
Vert Ltd is amongst 40 Kenyan agri-businesses to receive backing from the EU and Slovak Aid supported challenge fund, whose mission is to create rural jobs and profitable new markets for small-holder farming households. The fund supports agri-enterprise development in hard to reach areas of the country, and also backs businesses that respond to climate change in Kenya.
Vert Ltd, which processes and pulps mango for sale to local and international juice producers, has also created hundreds of new jobs and increased its production, thanks to a newly commissioned plant that dries and bags mango chips for the European market.
Vert Managing Director Jane Maina says that they are now using waste materials including seed and mango peel to fuel the company’s boilers, and have introduced solar panels to reduce reliance on the national electricity grid.
She says that the introduction of mango drying has ensured that Vert can now provide a secure and profitable market for all of the mangos that its 3,000 suppliers are producing.
Fruit grower Sammy Mutiso said that he has benefitted not just from a better price, but also from other supports that Vert has been providing to farmers who supply to them. “They have helped me to increase my productivity, and also give timely advise on pests and diseases that we might encounter,” he said.
Once the scaling up of operations is complete, Vert expect to provide employment for 500 people in its Kenyan operation.