• “Banana farmers have no reason to worry because the banana factory which they have been waiting for will be operational in the next one month,” Onsarigo said
The Kisii banana processing factory will be ready in 30 days, agriculture executive Esman Onsarigo has said.
Onsarigo said the installation of modern equipment which the county procured was almost complete.
Structural works have been completed and engineers are working around the clock to ensure they beat the deadline, he said.
“Banana farmers have no reason to worry because the banana factory which they have been waiting for will be operational in the next one month,” Onsarigo said.
He added, “The site engineers are working around the clock to ensure that the machines are installed to enable farmers to deliver their crop for value addition.”
The executive said the project is among others that Governor James Ongwae wants to actualise before he leaves office next year.
He said Ongwae has since hinted that an investor who will be running the processing factory will be identified soon.
“Farmers need to understand that the government is not in business, that is why we will soon identify an investor who will run the factory on their behalf,” Onsarigo said.
He said the investor will in turn identify banana collection centres across the county to have the produce delivered to the factory at the right time.
Agriculture chief officer Geoffrey Mogire said construction and completion of the factory was a big achievement by Ongwae’s administration. He said the factory will cushion banana farmers from exploitative middlemen.
“Our farmers will get more benefits from their crop because they will be earning better prices compared to when they used to sell the produce at throwaway prices to middlemen,” Mogire told the Star on the phone.
The construction of the plant which will produce flour and wine was funded by the European Union at a cost of Sh110 million while the county government contributed Sh60 million.
Mogire urged farmers to plant more bananas to serve not only Kisii residents but even those in neighbouring counties.
Onsarigo said Kisii produces 350,000 metric tonnes of bananas but out of the number, 30,000 tonnes were sold to Nairobi and other areas at cheap prices.
He slammed critics who have been claiming the factory was a white elephant project saying they will be ashamed in the next one month.
Most banana farmers sell their produce at markets in Keumbu, Daraja Mbili, Keroka, Igare and Riosiri.