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Kerio

Care • ee • oh

Welcome to the Kerio Valley in Kenya. On the floor of the valley, you will find the Kerio Cooperative. Located in Elgeo Marakwet County it is semi-arid and very flat here and the sun is hot from 8 am to 5:30 pm.

In 2015 the women of Kerio formed their cooperative of 200 women. From mangoes, pawpaw and bananas to watermelon, melons and oranges — the women have access to a variety of crops for harvesting and drying. In addition, you will find the farms here grow nursery trees and raise livestock. Together they practice good farming techniques and always seek opportunities where they can sell their ingredients like local markets. 

Mango trees are found growing in almost every homestead and the women tend to take care of them while the men tend to the livestock. Many of the trees are grafted in order to start new ones. Did you know that it takes a couple of years for a grafted mango tree to bear fruit? Within five years it will be highly productive. 

The mangoes that grow here are amongst some of the sweetest mangoes you will find in Kenya. Ripening begins in January when the mangoes turn yellow in color and last through March. The mango trees are often so tall that in order to wild-harvest them one person must climb up in the tree while many hold a net below to catch the mangoes before they fall to the ground so that they are not damaged. 

If you came to visit the Kerio women, they would kindly teach you the prepping and drying process, but not without engaging in conversation and teaching you about the latest news in the community, including politics. Chances are on your break, you might even get a taste of some mango juice made from overripe mangoes. The women often make juice to sell in the markets too.

 

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