Banana farmers in Taita Taveta have asked the county government to accelerate the completion of the Taveta banana factory. The construction of this facility was commissioned two years ago, with the aim to cushion the growers against the actions of exploitative middlemen. The project seeks to strengthen the crop value chain under the Instruments for Devolution Advice and Support (Ideas-Kenya) program.
The factory was launched in 2019 by the county government- in partnership with the European Union - but its construction has been on a slow pace since last year. Sources say it is 80 per cent complete and is expected to have the capacity to process eight tons of bananas per hour.
The farmers have reiterated their concerns over exploitation by middlemen and they want the county government to speed up the completion of the factory, so that they get market for their produce.
One farmer told nation.africa that she and her colleagues are facing challenges finding market for their produce that sometimes rots in the farms for lack of buyers. She said they are reeling from the effects of Covid-19 and life has never been the same again since the markets were disrupted last year following the outbreak of the pandemic.
The county government has already supplied over 30,000 tissue culture banana seedlings to over 3,000 farmers in Taveta and other growing areas in the county in anticipation for value addition at the factory.