Kenyan growers mix bananas with tea crops

Kenya’s Kericho and Bomet counties are synonymous with large tea plantations that have dominated these regions for decades. Now, a different product is being added to these areas -albeit on a small scale- in the form of bananas.

The giant Cavendish variety is slowly finding its place in Kericho, Bomet and beyond. After learning through research on his own about the characteristics of the giant Cavendish, it became one of the targets of Nelson Chirchir, who set aside a third of his two-acre farm for the cultivation of bananas. He has at least four varieties — giant Cavendish, Uganda green, ng’ombe and sweet.

Chirchir is the chairman of Sigowet Community Demand Driven Committee (CDCC). The farming community here bestowed the position upon him in June 2019 due to his passion for agricultural activities as a youth. Some of his customers place orders for specific types of bananas. For instance, “I have one in Nakuru who buys only the giant Cavendish,” he told the-star.co.ke. “Others from Sondu ask for ng’ombe.”

“I saw this as a business that does not need a lot of capital to start,” Chirchir says on the cultivation of bananas. His bananas are staggered at different stages of development. This, he says, prevents his farm from being dormant for several months without yielding harvests. It ensures steady income for him.


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