• Micro and Small Enterprise Authority CEO Henry Rithaa says they are working on modalities to have potato farmers get easy loans when their produce is in the storage facilities.
• Adds that youth and women should be empowered by agribusiness financing through value chains.
After years of suffering losses due to lack of proper storage facilities, potato farmers in Meru county finally have something to smile about.
Micro and Small Enterprise Authority CEO Henry Rithaa has announced that the national government will build three cold storage facilities in the country, one being in Meru.
“The Ministry of Trade has given Sh100 million for Nyandarua county, Sh100 million for Kisii county and Sh100 million for Meru county,” Rithaa said.
He said on completion, the facilities will benefit the small-scale potato farmers.
Each of the facilities will hold 600 tonnes at a time for maximum eight months.
“The government wants to prevent the loss that potato farmers incur and improve the pricing by stabilising the market,” Rithaa said.
He added that they are working on modalities to have potato farmers get easy loans when their produce is in the storage facilities.
Rithaa said youth and women should be empowered by agribusiness financing through value chains, which will be catered by Micro and Small Enterprise Authority.
He spoke at Nguchichi, Buuri constituency, Meru where they held a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the store.
Irish potato regulations of 2019
Kisima MCA Joy Karambu said the facility will be a big boost to the potato farmers.
Karambu said Meru farmers were being hurt as the county has fully complied with the 50kg packaging, whereas other counties are still contravening the guidelines.
She said traders are opting to buy potatoes from other counties and repackage.
The land on which the facility will be built was community land and was given out freely.
Meru Trade executive Mugambi Maingi said potato farmers face three major challenges - clean seeds, harmonising the market and lack of storage of potatoes, which affects the quality and price.
Meru county commissioner Allan Machari said they are working with the devolved government to enforce the 50kg potato packaging.
He said the cold storage facility will play a key role in providing food security and value addition.
Trade CAS Lawrence Karanja, however, said brokers have sued the government because of the potato regulations of 2019 that limits the packaging to 5okg.
Edited by Ekibii