Overview and context:
In Kenya an estimated 64% of approximately 580,000 MT of mango production are wasted, due to different reasons. About 1-2% are rejected at exporter level. At farm level an estimated amount of 25% is not utilized, due to overproduction, unattractive varieties and maturity. Wheeling fruits means processing of surplus fruits at farm gate level via a mobile processing unit. The mobile processing facility will be fitted onto a trailer and can move between farming areas. The first grade produce is picked and sold for export while surplus and cosmetically unattractive foods known as rejects will be bought from the farmers directly at an already existing aggregation center and processed into powder. The Wheeling Fruits concept is based on the premise that by reducing the volume of produce to be transported and the option of bulking due to extended shelf-life, cost savings can be realized. For powder about 90% volume reductions are realized.
First trials of producing powder have been realized by Miyonga Fresh Greens with the support of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI). The clients based in Germany have been satisfied with the product and consumer tests have been successful.
Wheeling Fruits has established business relations to all relevant stakeholders, farmer groups, the aggregation center operators, customers and technology partners. The next phase of the Wheeling Fruits project is running a stationary facility at one mango aggregation center to proof the concept of small scale processing at farm gate level. Following the successful pilot project in Tana River a further roll out to other areas of Kenya is planned, using a mix of mobile and stationary facilities. It is envisaged that local entrepreneurs will run the facilities, which will further empower rural communities and support the objective of Wheeling Fruits to have an impact on livelihoods in rural Kenya.
High numbers (500+) of farmers and dependents will directly benefit, especially after roll out. More jobs (50+) will be created on farms and at the processing facility.
The implementing team consists of Yvonne Otieno, Dorothy Otieno and Toni Hassenmeier, combining vast experience in the private and public sector, in areas of business development, marketing, financial management, project management, agriculture, export and agro-processing.