• Women export sisal baskets to Poland while other products are sold locally
• 120-member group rakes in Sh2 million a year from sale of their products
A women's group in Kaiti subcounty, Makueni, is reaping big from a sisal farming project started seven years ago.
Kee Sisal Value Addition Weavers group makes baskets, hats, mats and ropes.
On average, the 120-member group rakes in Sh2 million per year from the sale of their products.
Secretary Sophia Mutua said the women sell the sisal baskets to Poland while other products are sold locally.
"We have entered into an agreement with an exporter who gives us the size and designs of the sisal baskets required in the market. We weave them and the exporter does the finishing," Mutua says.
The members have been able to feed and educate their children with ease.
"Through sisal farming and weaving the members have been empowered economically and their living standards have improved significantly," Mutua said.
She said with the support of the county government the group has acquired two sisal decorticators and twiners.
A decorticator is used to remove fibre from raw sisal while a twiner makes sisal threads.
"We charge Sh20 for every 50 sisal leaves for any non-member who uses the machine,’’ she said.
The sisal is sourced from members’ farms. "We also buy from other villagers if we exhaust what the members have supplied," she said.
County Agriculture executive Lawrence Nzunga said the Makueni government will support small scale sisal farmers to improve their livelihoods through supply of machines and marketing.
Sisal plantations in the county occupy 7,500 hectares. Dwa Rea Vipingo in Kibwezi East has 4,500 hectares.