By Malachi Motano
Farmers in Makueni are adopting modern mango farming in agribusiness, a new venture that is shaping livelihoods for most families in the county.
The county has for the last few years reported massive planting of new mango trees attracting attention of agriculturists in the county.
According to baseline survey of mango trees census report carried out in Eastern Province by Institution Development and Management, income from mango farming was dictating significantly a 40 percent of farm household income in lower eastern region of eastern province.
The finding reported entry of a young generation into mango farming agribusiness out their conscious realization of the economic benefits from the farm enterprise, which the survey says were behind massive planting of modern grafted mangoes in recent past years in the region.
“Out of 2,761,929 mango trees in Eastern province, 91 percent of the mango trees have been planted in the last seven years, by the current generation of farmers, who have easily adopted initiatives to improve mango farming,’’ the survey reveals.
Makueni County with a total of 1,469,625 mango trees from its 28,696 farmers, led in 2010 mango production in the Eastern province, generating Sh1.267,974. Machakos county follows with Sh300,268 from 506,544 mango trees scattered to its 17,676 farmers.
It is notable from the survey that mango farming enterprise in terms of generating household income has an annual gross domestic product value estimated at sh2.442 billion at farm level. The agriculturists put the mango sub sector in Eastern at 12 percent annually.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture has it that mango is third most important fruit in the country in terms of production after bananas and pineapples.
The survey revealed that although mango cultivation is taking commercial dimension, it is cultivated in small scale with two third of farmers holding 20 mango trees or less.
The mango survey in the 42 mango growing districts points out that the eastern province has slightly 92,650 farmers with those practicing commercial mango cultivation and holding above 50 mango trees are only 13 percent.
However, the survey reports a changing trend in recent years that there has been expansion in mango cultivation especially in eastern province.