LONG OVERDUE

Kisii banana farmers want Sh110m factory expedited

Money for the factory was secured in 2017 but construction of the plant is yet to begin.

In Summary

• The farmers who sell their produce in various markets in the region said they have been waiting to be told the status of the factory in vain.

• The farmers say they have been selling their produce at throwaway prices to middlemen and the factory will cushion them from that. 

tissue culture banana
tissue culture banana
Image: FILE

Farmers in Kisii have urged the county government to expedite construction of an EU-funded Sh110 million banana processing factory. 

The farmers said they have been selling their produce at throwaway prices to middlemen and the factory will cushion them from that. 

The county received Sh110 million grant from the European Union for the construction of the factory in 2017 while Governor James Ongwae said that his administration would add Sh45 million towards the project.

During last year’s Jamhuri Day Celebrations,  Ongwae said that construction of the factory would to take 18 months. 

“We are on top gear in our commitment to establishing a banana-processing factory in the county,” he said.

But construction of the factory is yet to begin and farmers are frustrated at the slow pace of the project. 

Farmers who sell their produce in Keumbu, Daraja Mbili, Keroka markets said they have been waiting for the factory for a long time.

“I have been transporting my bananas to this market for many years but I sell them cheap to middlemen who then take them to major towns and make huge profits,” Peter Otuke said.

He said the factory will not only save farmers from exploitation by middlemen but will also create employment for unemployed youth. 

Pastor Francis Yoge of the Christ Saves Ministries said the agriculture department should clarify when the factory will be ready.

“I look forward to benefiting from the factory,” he said.

He said there is need for the county government to live up to its promises and help farmers.

“The farmers will earn maximum profits through value addition,” Yoge said.