Prof. Jane Ambuko heads of the Horticulture Unit at the Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection. She has conducted extensive research in postharvest losses and value addition of mangoes. Prof. Ambuko conducted a study on tackling postharvest losses in mango among resource poor farmers in Kenya. The paper was published in Chronica Horticulae Vol 60 (3) –pp 28-29.
Mango fruits are highly perishable; they have a very limited shelf life from the time the fruits mature, ripen, harvested and consumed. In Kenya, mangoes are in season between November and March, with the peak between January and February. Prof. Ambuko discusses the challenges smallholder farmers experience like limited resources to extend shelf life of the mangoes to exploitation by middlemen at the farm gate.
To address the issue of post harvest loss a team from the University of Nairobi Postharvest Project has partnered with Rockefeller Foundation to encourage small holder farmers to form cooperative groups to increase their market access as well as access training opportunities and extension services.
The University of Nairobi has also participated in a joint project with a team of researchers from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and Rockefeller Foundation and TechnoServe Kenya, to establish two (2) aggregation centers. One center has been established in Machakos County for the Masii Horticultural Farmers’ Cooperative Society. The other center has been established Karurumo, Embu County, and is owned by the Karurumo Horticultural Self-Help Group. These 2 centers have provided members with storage facilities for fresh produce and also wet and dry processing of fruits and vegetable.
In conclusion; the initiatives have met the objective of encouraging farmers to work together to reduce postharvest loss of high perishable farmer produce through proper storage and processing. Full article HERE.