An analysis of the mango fruit value chain in Embu
Value chain describes the activities which are required to bring a product or service from conception, through the different phases of production, delivery to final consumers, and final disposal after use. It is thus a conceptual tool that enhances an understanding of the factors that impact on the long term profitability of a business. Value chain analyses are conducted through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and have become important in the recent times due to increased competition and need for efficiency in production and marketing. This study focuses on the mango enterprise in Embu. Eastern province is the leading producer with Embu being among the highest mango producers in the province. This study aims at evaluating the expected incomes, equity and welfare at the small scale producer's level. The objective of this study was to evaluate the margins and added value of mango by producers, traders and farmer groups doing processing and then examine institutional factors that affect mango fruit value chain in Embu district. Qualitative and quantitative analysis was undertaken in this study to generate insights into the limitations and opportunities of the mango value chain which can be used to establish the critical control points. Data was collected through personal interviews and focused group discussions using pre-tested interview guides and group discussion guides. FAO, VCA software was used to compute the benefits and added value by the different agents in Embu. Descriptive analysis was used to determine factors that influence participation in the value chain. The study findings show that farmers gain less and have the lowest figure for added value as compared to traders and the processors. The results indicate that traders were the main beneficiaries as they deal with high fruit volumes and enjoy the high profits and add more value as compared to the farmers. Farmer groups' undertaking processing lack economies of scale though their performance is better than that of farmers in terms of value added and benefits. Their value added is the highest among all the agents. The study found that the performance of mangoes as an enterprise in Embu district was profitable as demonstrated by the high number of mango farmers and traders in the region during the peak mango season. The findings suggest that group processing should be enhanced in order to increase farmers' processing capacity at the local level. Suggested policy interventions include, strengthening of extension services support to the farmer and creating demand driven extension services. The government in partnership and collaboration with relevant development partners should set up systems of information acquisition and flow to ensure transparency in the chain. There is need for provision of credit facilities to all the agents. The certification system should be simplified to enable the primary processor to access markets easily. The Councils should improve on the market infrastructure especially during the rainy season to reduce on quality deterioration of the mango fruit.