A group of youth with hearing impairment in Siaya County have received solar powered trays to dry mango fruits to reduce post-harvest losses. The group received the equipment from Agricultural Sector Support Development Programme Phase Two (ASDSP II), which is funded by European Union (EU) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and supervised by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
The group that comprises 23 females and 17 males, has been funded by the program to grow mangoes commercially. According to Siaya County ASDSP II Coordinator, Mr Kenneth Owuor, the donation was an initiative to empower the marginalized lot in the community to be self- reliant. The solar powered drying trays worth Sh70, 000 will help reduce post-harvest loses of ripe mangoes by 30 per cent.
ASDSP II is promoting the growing of improved mango varieties as a cash crop, alongside the breeding of indigenous chicken and fish farming. Drying of mangoes is a value addition venture because it translates into increased income as 10 kilograms of ripe mangoes costs Sh100 locally, but adding the cost of drying process costs Sh500 in the international market.
The youth were also trained on food safety procedures, by Agricycle Global, a partner in the program. FAO and the United Nations through Integrated Country Approach Programme, have created links globally for the buying of the value-added mangoes according to the Coordinator.
playing their part, the deaf youth contributed Sh300 each, of which they will buy food safety protective gear, as required by FAO.