The beloved fruit has been in its peak season recently within Kenya. However, for one farmer in the sub-county of Mwala farming mango has been an ongoing journey for over 2 decades.
Retired army veteran Rueben Muindi has been in mango farming for 21 years and is going strong. He proudly states how farming mangos has helped him support his family without too much strain.
In the peak season, the fruit typically sells for Sh6 and between Sh15-20 per piece in the off season.
Mr Muindi mainly farms the apple mango variety, which is the most common in the region as well as a small portion of the Tommy variety.
Mr Muindi has his farm of about 2 acres located in Makutano that has about 100 mature Apple mango trees and a few Tommy mango trees. A matured tree if healthy and well-tended could produce about 1,000 fruits in a season.
According to Reuben, the Apple mango is preferred as it is able to survive with little rainfall as much as it thrives in humid areas. Unfortunately, the recent change in climate has made weather unpredictable and affected the flowering of fruits.
“Rain during the flowering season reduces the fruit setting, which is the transition phase from the flower to the development of the fruit” adds Muindi.
The downsides to farming mangoes were protecting the crop against diseases such as anthracnose and powdery mildew. In addition, pests such as the fruit fly can also be a menace to the otherwise lucrative farming process.