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Meru, Tharaka Nithi join hands in building banana plants

The Meru County Secretary said value addition was a major challenge for farmers who work hard in their shambas only to sell the produce at a loss because of merciless brokers who make tidy profits after re-reselling in Nairobi and other counties.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 30 Sep 2016 19:20 EAT

Banana processing factories will be jointly constructed by Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties to promote the crop and enable farmers make a living from it. A large number of farmers drawn from the two neighbouring counties produce a lot of bananas within the larger Meru region, due to middlemen and lack of a processing plant they are sold at a throw away prices due to oversupply.

The Meru county executive member in charge of agriculture, Mr Jenaro Guantai, and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Mr. Kenneth Mburia made the announcement of a joint venture when they addressed thousands of farmers who attended  training on good crop husbandry sponsored by USAid.

They said brokers had invaded the major banana selling points where they dictate prices due to the large amounts of bananas on sale. Mburia supported the plan to put up the banana processing plant and added “We need to build one big factory for banana farmers so that we can add value to the product. We do not have to sell raw bananas as we are doing now,”

The Meru County Secretary said brokers from other counties who buy bananas from the region are having it easy convincing farmers to part  with bananas at very low prices. Mr Guantai said value addition was a major challenge for farmers who work hard in their shambas only to sell the produce at a loss because of merciless brokers who make tidy profits after re-reselling in Nairobi and other counties.

“The way to go is for Meru and Tharaka Nithi to come to the rescue of the farmers by building a big factory for farmers to deliver their harvests. There are many products we can process from bananas to increase income,” he said.

Noting that Meru already had a banana beer factory at Ntharene in South Imenti, Mburia and Guantai said the two governments will not sit back and watch brokers take advantage of farmers.

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