VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS: A CASE
STUDY OF MANGOES IN KENYA
Prepared by the
Sugar and Beverages Group
Raw Materials, Tropical and Horticultural Products Service
Commodities and Trade Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Table of Contents
MANGO PRODUCTION, MARKETING AND PROCESSING
FACTORS PREVENTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MANGO SUPPLY CHAIN
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This document reviews fruit production and yield trends, mango production, marketing and
processing of smallholders and traders along the mango value chain in Kenya. It also examines future
The horticultural sub-sector in Kenya comprises mainly fruits, vegetables and cut flowers, and
accounts for about 10 percent of urban food consumption and a much larger percentage in rural areas.
Vegetables dominate horticultural production, followed by fruits and cut flowers. In 2003, a total area of
373 000 hectares was dedicated to horticultural production, producing 4.35 million tonnes of horticultural
products, valued at US$494.4 million. The contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 3.5 percent
and 14.5 percent to Agric ultural Gross Domestic Product1. However, the value of production was lower
than that of 2002 and 2001 which were US$503.6 million and US$528.4 million, respectively. The sub-
sector also provides employment to a large number of Kenyans, currently estimated at 2 million, both
direct and indirect jobs.
Table 1: Percentage of cultivated area, volume of production and value of horticultural products
% cultivated area
%Volume of production
% Value of Production
Fruit and vegetables are also important sources of foreign exchange earnings, which ranged
between US$260 and US$350 million in recent years, ranking second to tea, and accounting for 21
percent of total domestic exports in 2003. Mango has been the third most important fruit in terms of area
and total production over the last ten years with bananas (including plantains) and pineapples as number
one and number two respectively in terms of production. Production trends are presented in Figures 1 and
2. The output of mangoes, avocados and passion fruits has increased rapidly, while output shares of
bananas and pineapples have declined.
Figure 1: Production of mangoes, avocado, passion fruit and papaya (1992-2003)
1 In 2003, national GDP was estimated at US$14.2 billion, while Agricultural GDP was about US$3.4 billion.
Figure 2: Value of major fruits grown in Kenya as a percent of total value, 2002 - 2003
Share of Total Value
Source: Based on statistics from HCDA/MOA.
MANGO PRODUCTION, MARKETING AND PROCESSING
Mango output in Kenya has increased steadily over the past decade as yields have improved to the
current level of 10 tonnes per hectare (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Yields (tonnes/ha.) of mango and passion fruits (1992-2003)
In 2003, mango production was estimated at more than 183 000 tonnes (Table 2). Eastern
Province accounted for 54 percent, Coast Province for 22 percent and Nyanza Province for 8 percent.
Table 2: Mango production 2002/2003 by province
Source: Ministry of Agriculture Annual Reports, 2002/2003
Two types of mango are grown in Kenya, the local and the exotic or improved varieties. The latter
are usually grafted on local mangoes and are grown for the export market. Most local varieties tend to
have high fibre content, commonly referred to as “stringy”, and this characteristic makes them unpopular
for fresh consumption. The local mango varieties are usually left to grow naturally without much crop
Both local and exotic varieties are grown in Eastern Province. The local varieties are Ngowe,
Dodo, Boribo and Batawi. The exotic varieties include Apple, Kent, Keit, Tommy Atkins, Van Dyke,
Haden, Sensation, Sabre, Sabine, Pafin, Maya, Kenston and Gesine. The districts with higher percentage
of improved mango varieties are Thika, Embu, Mbeere, Meru Central, Makueni, Machakos and Meru
South, while Mwingi and Kitui have very small areas cultivated with improved varieties. In Kitui for
example, 1 287 hectares are under mango production , but less than 6 percent is cultivated with exotic
Local varieties predominate in the production of Coast Province, namely, Ngowe (70 percent),
Boribo, Batawi and a few minor ones. The main exotic variety grown is Apple , which is mainly cultivated
in Lamu, Malindi and Kilifi districts.
In the two P rovinces (Eastern and Coast), mango production is primarily rain fed. Where water is
available , new orchards under irrigation have been established for production of exotic varieties for
Pests are the main factor affecting yields. The mango weevil is a major concern and farmers are
making an effort to use recommended control measures. For export production, the main difficulty for
farmers is to comply with the standards required by the EUREPGAP Control Points and Compliance
Criteria, which is required for all fruits and vegetables destined for the EC market.
In Eastern Province, only one crop of mango is produced per year, while in Coast Province there
are two harvesting seasons. In the Malindi and Kilifi districts, the two harvests yield an almost equal
quantity. In Lamu 80 percent of the harvest is in April-July, while in the Tana River district, 70 percent of
harvest is between October and February. The main exotic variety, Apple, is harvested in early September,
slightly later than other varieties.
In the lower parts of Tana River District within the delta area especially around Kipini, there is a
distinct production seasonality emerging from the effects of floodwaters. Mangoes in Kipini Division of
Tana River District, Coast Province are harvested slightly earlier compared to other parts of the Province.
In the whole of Coast Province, every district reported some mango harvesting for at least seven months in
a year. In Kenya, generally , mango supply peaks between October and February (Figure 4). Seasonality
has serious implications for mango processing.
Table 3: Mango production in selected districts in Eastern and Coast Provinces of Kenya, 2003
Figure 4: Mango s upply seasonality in 2003
Quantity in tonnes
Most of the mangoes produced are consumed within the same production area, or sold in urban
markets of Kenya. There are two main market destinations for fresh mangoes, the local and export
markets. Exports of fresh mangoes comprise a small proportion of national production.
Chart 1: Mango distribution channel in Kenya
Total production (20 03)
183 486 tonnes
Consumed on farm level
Sold for local consumption
91 700 tonnes
89 560 tonnes
2 226 tonnes
In 2003, for instance, total mango export was slightly above 1 percent of total production. Most of
the mangoes were bought from the farms by middlemen who transported them either to the local markets
or sold them to exporting companies. The exotic varieties fetched better farm gate prices, ranging from
Kenya shillings (Kshs) 3 to 20 per piece, depending on the size, quality, season, buyer and the destination
Only high quality fruits of exotic varieties are sold in the export markets. The districts that export
substantial quantities of mangoes include Machakos, Meru Central, Meru South and Makueni. Some of
the exporting companies buy mangoes directly from the farms and package them for export.
The export market offers better prices than the local market. In cases where the exporting
companies buy directly from the farms, farmers sell at better prices than when they sell their products to
middlemen. The prices offered also depend on the mango season.
Figure 5 shows the various local, regional and international marketing channels for mangoes in
Kenya, emphasizing the actors involved in the process. The export market is served by a few large private
sector farms. There are about 22 mango exporters in Kenya. Independent smallholders produce the bulk of
the mangoes for domestic markets. The brokers assemble the mangoes from producers and then supply the
main open markets. Once consignments are delivered to the markets, wholesalers buy and sell to retailers
who then sell to consumers in kiosks, other retail markets, green groceries and roadside markets.
Processors often acquire the mangoes directly from the producers.
At the high end of the market are two main supermarkets – Nakumatt and Uchumi – which sell
high quality mangoes to the upper income consumers. This outlet, however, only accounts for less than 5
percent of the mango distributed in Kenya. The open market accounts for 56 percent in urban centres and
more than 70 percent in rural areas, while kiosks account for 36 percent of mango sales.
Figure 5: Domestic, regional and international marketing channels for mangoes in Kenya
(Fresh and Processed)
Urban Wholesalers and Brokers
Kenyan Urban Consumers
In 2003, fruits earned some Kshs 1.9 billion (US$24.98 million), representing close to 7 percent of
the total value of horticultural exports from Kenya. Mango exports accounted for 14.4 percent of the value
of fruit export earnings (Figure 6).
Mango exports from Kenya are declining despite the expansion in demand for fresh fruits in
Europe and the Near East. Mangoes from Kenya cannot compete effectively because of unreliable
supplies, arising from pest infestation and crop mismanagement, as well as inadequate infrastructure,
which raise the costs and the risks of shipping products abroad.
Figure 6: Value of fruit export earnings
Fruits-Share in Value of Exports (2003)
Source: Based on data from MOA/HCDA.
Mango processing in Kenya has not expanded, and only a negligible share of total production is
currently processed. Only one relatively large-size mango processing firm based in Coast Province
processes local products. Other local juice and jam makers import mangoes in the form of concentrates
mainly from Mauritius, Egypt and South Africa. In principle, therefore, there is potential for increasing the
processing of local products. Local production, however, is of low quality. Ninety-five percent of mango
produced in Kenya is made up of indigenous varieties. These, as already mentioned, are rich in fibre, and
of little market value and are either consumed within the households or sold at very low prices in the
Table 4: Export Share of Mango Production in Kenya
Volume (tons) (‘000 Kshs) Volume Value
1 550 299
1 576 933
5 308 876
5 366 815
1 078 928
1 108 435
III. FACTORS PREVENTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MANGO
The major constraints which are currently hindering the development of the mango supply chain
can be categorized according to the four basic stages in the su8pply chain: the farm level, the marketing
stage, the processing stage and the export stage.
At the farm-level, key constraints faced by farmers are the lack of clean planting material,
inadequate technology, the length of the production cycle and inadequate post-harvest handling facilities.
Concerning planting material, there is a generalized shortage of grafted seedlings. Hence, farmers
tend to use inferior, low yielding seedlings. Farmers do not have knowledge on improved production
technology, and there is little or no use of fertilizers and pesticides. Pests – mainly the mango seed weevil
and fruit fly – and diseases – mainly anthracnose and powdery mildew – are also major problems . Some
fruit trees are so tall and big such that spraying is only not viable but also impossible. Farmers often lack
motorized pumps for effective pest and disease control. Coupled with this, is poor crop management
practice, which leads to flower and fruit fall.
Where mango is harvested only once a year, as in the case of Eastern Province, mango farmers
have diversified to other crops, including passion fruits, melons and seedling production, to smooth their
income pattern throughout the year. At harvest time, there is often an oversupply which leads to low prices
and product losses.
Farmers suffer from poor post-harvest handling techniques, leading to significant losses, which
affect returns to the farmer and traders. Furthermore, farmers do not have good storage facilities available
at the farm level, and this forces them to sell their product immediately after harvest. No collective
bargaining takes place on the price, and each farmer interacts individually with the trader and other
buyers, often receiving prices well below reigning market prices.
At the marketing stage, a major constraint is the poorly developed transport infrastructure, such as
the bad road conditions that serve production areas which further contribute to post-harvest losses and a
deterioration of quality leading to low selling prices. In many districts, transport and shipping costs are in
fact prohibitive, both within and outside the country.
Supply is not well organized with collection, grading and packing facilities and, therefore, farmers
are not able to separate higher quality fruits to be remunerated accordingly. Moreover, farmers often lack
the necessary information on alternative marketing possibilities and on alternative product uses, such as
drying, and other options for value addition. Traders themselves often suffer from poor access to credit,
which makes it difficult for them to finance their operations.
In regard to exports, inadequate post-harvest/husbandry control, wrong varieties for sea freight,
inadequate sea freight facilities and high air freight costs are among the major constraints. Moreover, the
need to comply with the EUREGAP and traceability standards, which are necessary to enter the EC
market, constitute a further problem. Exporters themselves often suffer from price instability in
international markets and from stiff competition from other countries like India, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico
and Costa Rica. These competitors offer higher quality varieties at lower prices, due mainly to lower
Finally, concerning processing, major constraints are the insufficient plant capacity and
organization of supplies. Currently, less than 1 perce nt of mangoes produced in Kenya are processed. The
better quality fruits are exported, and processors are left with fruits of the lowest quality. Seasonal
production is only enough to supply factories for seven months of the year.
On the consumption side, the price of natural mango juice is too expensive for domestic
consumers, who mostly consume cheaper products and indigenous varieties. Relatively cheaper imported
mango juices are available from Mauritius, South Africa and Egypt. These countries enjoy preferential
tariffs under the regional trade agreement, COMESA. Further competition comes from locally
manufactured, chemically sweetened mango flavoured soft drinks.
IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Despite the existence of considerable potential and a steady growth in yields over the last decade,
the development of the Kenyan mango supply chain appears to be hindered by a number of structural