KENYA – Wambugu Apple, a pioneer in hybrid apple farming in the tropics, has unveiled its cutting-edge fruit grading machine and packing warehouse signaling a groundbreaking leap in Kenya’s apple production sector.
The facility, located at the Infinity Industrial Park, is equipped with a remarkable packing line boasting a capacity of 10 tons per hour, operating 24/7 to meet the escalating demands of the burgeoning fruit market.
Kate Wambugu, the Director, and Wambugu Apple Ambassador, shared her reflections during the launch, drawing inspiration from her father, Mr. Wambugu, who initiated The Wambugu Apple in Tetu, Nyeri County.
The apple, known for its year-round fruiting, is now officially recognized by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (KEPHIS) as Wambugu Apple.
Kate stated, “This packhouse addresses post-harvest losses, providing a platform for efficient management. So far, over 2,500 farmers in Kenya and 36 countries across Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia are cultivating Wambugu Apple.”
Matthew Njenga, Chairman of the Kenya Apple Growers and Exporters Association (KAGEA), emphasized the facility’s exceptional output of 10-15 tons per hour, ensuring efficient processing and packaging of a diverse range of fruits, including avocados, apples, mangoes, passion fruit, peaches, pears, apricots, and tomatoes.
The USD 500,000 debt financing from Diamond Trust Bank has made this investment possible, positioning Wambugu Apple as the first-of-its-kind facility in Africa.
Njenga highlighted the facility’s broader capabilities, stating, “Wambugu Apples aims to become a hub for value addition, exploring opportunities to process and package fruit-based products.”
He underscored the importance of fruit farming in conservation agriculture, contributing to soil health and biodiversity.
Njenga emphasized the collaborative efforts involving government, learning institutions, development organizations, and financial institutions that played a pivotal role in making this visionary investment a reality.
Dr. Humphrey Njuguna, Chairperson of Moi University Council, expressed support for Wambugu Apple, revealing plans to expand their apple cultivation to 1000 acres and venture into value addition.
Dr. Betty Kibaara, Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, attended the launch, acknowledging its significance in promoting innovation, sustainability, and the prosperity of farmers.
The launch signifies Wambugu Apple’s commitment to revolutionize fruit processing, aligning with their vision to add significant value to the agricultural supply chain and benefit both farmers and consumers.
The state-of-the-art facility not only addresses post-harvest losses but also positions Wambugu Apple as a comprehensive solution for farmers cultivating various fruits, contributing to the broader goals of conservation agriculture and sustainable farming practices.
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