BY COAST CORRESPONDENT
Mango farmers in Tana River County have a reason to smile following the successful installation of a pulp processing machine at the Galole Multi-Purpose Fruit Processing plant.
This was made possible through the Coast Development Authority Tana River coordinator Abdi Osman who says the plant has already received Sh61.5 million of the Sh123 million allocated for its revival from the national government.
The plant that has not being working in the past five years will get a shot in the arm as a status report was being presented to the Tana River County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) recently.
According to Mr Osman the plant would start operations during the April-June mango season as most works have been completed and his authority has already purchased and installed the plant machinery and equipment as well a bus to ferry staff to and from Hola Town to the plant about 20 kilometers away.
Flanked by Tana River County commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio, the committee was told the CDA had undertaken general repair and screening of the factory building and developed a farmers training manual.
To reduce the post-harvest losses to mango farmers, Mr Osman said the plant had a capacity to crush 1.5 metric tonnes per hour with a possible expansion to 5 metric tonnes per hour.
“The main product will be puree/pulp which will be packed aseptically for both local and export markets,” he said adding, “The project will provide market outlets for 5,000 farmers’ agricultural fruit products through value addition.”
The project is expected to provide direct employment to 25 permanent staff and 30 casual workers as well as 1,500 indirect jobs to the youth and women.
In his remarks, Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata, who toured the plant, asked the CDA to consider producing mango juice and mineral water for the local market so that wananchi could appreciate the existence of the plant.
The fruit plant stalled in 2014, barely one year after it was officially launched at a colourful ceremony in Mombasa, more than 300 kilometres away.