Makueni’s ranking as the leading producer of mangoes is noticeable. Yet farmers find themselves in a crisis as brokers flood the market, preying on desperate farmers.
At the very heart of the issue lies the contrast in prices along the supply chain.
At the Farm Gate, farmers receive a meager 5 Ksh per kilogram from brokers.
Kalamba fruit processing plant buys mango through pre-qualified suppliers at Ksh. 18 per kg. The minimum farm gate price is Ksh.15.
“This is very sad when you work so hard and then brokers control the market with crazy prices. Some of them don’t even own a mango tree” said Gilbert Mutulu a farmer.
By the time the mangoes reach the supermarket shelves, consumers pay 40Ksh per kg. The situation exacerbates for international markets, where the export price has surged to 1.15 US Dollars per kilogram.
Also noted is that the brokers weighing machines are doctored.
“I never use theirs if they can’t use mine I tell them to put theirs and mine to measure one bag. if the weight has different weights. I tell them to go. I don’t deal with dishonest people.” added Muteti Peter another farmer.
The situation is similar in the neighboring Makueni and Kitui Counties.
The call is to eliminate the middlemen and pave the way for a system that enables farmers to reap the fruits of their labor, fostering a sustainable and equitable mango industry.