NEW POLICY

Meru moves to beat banana brokers

The measures are enshrined in the Crops Bill, which is in the last stages of development.

In Summary

•Agriculture executive Carol Mutiga said farmers will now price their bananas according to weight.

•Local farmers recently won a supply order to export banana flour to Hungary.

Meru has crafted new laws to protect Banana farmers from brokers, who have infiltrated the sub-sector.

Agriculture executive Carol Mutiga said farmers will now price their bananas according to weight.

The measures are enshrined in the Crops Bill, which is in the last stages of development.

Mutiga, who spoke on Wednesday during three-day benchmarking by Agriculture committee from Kisii County, said brokers had infiltrated the banana market, destroying farmers' livelihoods. 

The Kisii county government officials and farmers, led by their Agriculture chief officer Naomi okaya, visited Meru to learn about banana value addition chain.

“Meru boasts of being the leading producer in banana production in the country with an annual production of 400 metric tonnes worth Sh6 billion,” Mutiga said.

Some of the varieties grown in the county are William Hybrid, Gross Mitchel (Kampala), Fhia 17, Giant Carendash, Uganda Green (Kiganda) and plantains that are commonly known as Gichagara.

Mutiga said Kephis supplies Meru farmers with certified seeds.

“We want to find reliable markets for our farmers and also emphasise on value addition. We want farmers to form societies for them to dictate prices and curb exploitation,” Mutiga said.

She said the county is establishing a banana winery plant.

Local farmers recently won a supply order to export banana flour to Hungary.

Imenti Community Based Organisation health Foods director Kiambi Paul told the Star they currently produce 12 tonnes every three months for export.

Kiambi said Icobo also makes animal feeds from banana peelings and organic fertiliser from the main banana stem.

Current banana supply in Kenya only meets 47 per cent of the demand, meaning there is a big opportunity in the industry to fill the gap. In Kenya the crop is largely grown by small scale farmers.

There are two types of banana: dessert banana and cooking banana, both of which are grown and are available in local markets.

There are eight major varieties planted in kenya, they include: cavendish, matoke/kiganda/kienyeji, kampala, apple, ng’ombe, kisagara, kimalindi and muraru/kimeru.