KENYA – Makueni County in Eastern Kenya is set to enter the ready to drink juice market in light of the arrival of the second fruit juice processing line at the Makueni Fruit Processing factory in Kalamba town.

The new line has the capacity to produce 8,000 litres per hour and refine ready to drink juice.

This is an addition to the already existing line processing 5 metric tons of raw mangoes producing 3,000 liters of Puree (Mango concentrate) per hour which when diluted will be used to make read to drink juice.

The Makueni Fruit processing factory was established by the County government in 2017 to stem wastage and raise incomes for fruit farmers in the county which has so far benefited over 12,000 families.

According to Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, 30%-40% of mango produce was going to waste. The County leads in mango production in Kenya with a total of 4,311,375 mango trees grown by 28,696 farmers.

To spear head the initiative, the European Union extended US$1.1m financing in 2018.

The county was the first to benefit from an EU and Kenyan government agreement to fund economic projects across 15 counties under the Instrument for Devolution Advice and Support (IDEAS) programme.

In other related news, the County government, Youth farmer groups, African Bee Keepers Limited and Slovakian government have inked a deal with the Slovakian government to supporting and training of farmers on end-to-end quality honey production.

This will commercialize the venture as one of the key agricultural value chains in the county.

The Slovakia Ambassador said his country wishes to pilot commercial bee keeping in Makueni as an income generating venture, before partnering with other counties.

African Bee Keepers, one of the leading honey producers in the country, will offer ready market for Makueni startup honey producers before they are able to process, package and market for themselves.

The county government will offer technical assistance and incentives to ensure a transition from traditional to modernized ways of bee keeping with maximum output.