Farmers in Kisii have urged the county government to expedite construction of an EU-funded Sh110 million (€975,000) 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 a 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 (€400,000) towards the project.
During last year’s Jamhuri Day Celebrations, Ongwae said that construction of the factory would to take 18 months. 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.