Banana farmers in Taita Taveta, Kenya, have urged the county government to speed up the completion of the Taveta banana processing plant. They claim the construction of the multimillion plant is long overdue, as there is an urgent need for a steady banana market in the region.
The Sh110 million European Union-funded plant is aimed at boosting the value addition chain of banana production and food security in the arid and semi-arid areas of the county.
“We expected the plant to be ready by January because that is what the government had earlier promised. Farmers are still selling their bananas at a throw-away price,” a Kitobo banana grower told the-star.co.ke.
The Taveta area where bananas are highly grown has been the food basket of the Coast region. Farmers produce at least 125,000 tons of banana annually on the 832 ha under production. However, most of the bananas produced either go to waste or do not benefit the farmers due to low prices.
The County Assembly’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock committee chairman Juma Mwamba revealed that the plant is 80% complete and is expected to start functioning by September.