LIVELIHOODS BOOST

Kiambu eyes banana exports with Sh111m irrigation project

There are ready markets for the produce in the United Kingdom and South Korea

In Summary

• Governor James Nyoro said the project will benefit more than 15,000 farmers. Some 4,000 of them will benefit directly.

• Nyoro said that the project will produce enough bananas to satisfy the local market and for export.

Kiambu Governor James Nyoro with other officials during the groundbreaking of the Kamwamba Irrigation Project in Gatundu North subcounty.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro with other officials during the groundbreaking of the Kamwamba Irrigation Project in Gatundu North subcounty.
Image: John Kamau
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro breaks ground for the Kamwamba Irrigation Scheme in Gatundu North subcounty.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro breaks ground for the Kamwamba Irrigation Scheme in Gatundu North subcounty.

Banana farmers in Kiambu will increase production and export produce to Europe and Asia following the construction of a Sh111 million irrigation project in Gatundu North.

Governor James Nyoro said the project will benefit more than 15,000 farmers. Some 4,000 of them will benefit directly.

Nyoro said that the project will produce enough bananas to satisfy the local market and for export.

He spoke at Kamwangi while breaking ground for the Kamwamba Irrigation Scheme. It is funded by the national government with support from the World Bank. The National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth programme is overseeing the project.

The governor said that his administration has already made preparations to introduce varieties of bananas that can be exported.

Farmers will be trained on better farming practices for maximum production of quality bananas.

“Plans to introduce new and exportable varieties to farmers, as well as farm inputs, are already underway,” Nyoro said.

He said that the project sits on a 200-acre piece of land and will have a 26-kilometre pipeline upon completion. Rivers Githobokoni and Ndarugu will supply the water.

The county chief said that there are ready markets for bananas in the United Kingdom and South Korea. The county government will exploit the markets for the benefit of farmers.

“Recently we reached out to the Kenyan envoy to South Korea over market issues for our bananas. We learnt that the country is very strict on the varieties and quality of the bananas exported to their country,” Nyoro said.

The governor said women and youths in the subcounty will be trained on bananas' value addition to enable them to reap maximum profits. 

Nyoro said that the project will cut across Gituamba, Githobokoni, Chania and Mang’u wards and revolutionalise agriculture.  

He said that the project will boost dairy farming in the area by improving large scale farming of fodder.

“We recently initiated the expansion of the Mang’u Progressive Dairy Cooperative Society which will be offering farmers within the entire subcounty competitive prices for their milk. We expect farmers to take advantage of this project and increase their production,” Nyoro said.

The governor said that farmers will also be allowed to grow potatoes and cabbages among other crops on a large scale through the project.

Nyoro said funds for the project are available and it is expected to be complete by June 2022.

“The project made a false start in 2018 due to lack of goodwill from the county government. We are ready to see the project through to fruition,” he said.

A farmer told journalists the project was a shot in the arm for their crop production.

“This project will free many from the shackles of poverty and ensure that every household in this area is able to put food on the table. We hope there will be no hiccups and that it will be completed as scheduled,”  Kamwangi market trader Faith Njahira said. 

 

(edited by o. owino)