Scores of farmers in Murang’a County are counting losses due to increased theft of their bananas from their farms.
The farmers decried that due to persistence of dry weather conditions, production of bananas has gone down thus leading to high demand of the produce.
They said the increased demand for bananas has prompted thieves to steal even premature bananas from farms.
One of the farmers who spoke to KNA Henry Wanjohi said he was forced to spend most of his time guarding his banana farm.
He overserved that harsh climatic conditions have affected his plants and the few produce he gets is at risk of being stolen.
“There is scarcity of bananas caused by prolonged drought. The demand has gone high leading to creased theft of our produce. Currently, we are forced to spend most of our time protecting our bananas from being stolen,” he added.
The complaints by banana farmers come barely a week after avocado farmers raised similar concerns over increased theft of their fruits.
The farmers want the relevant government security agencies to curb the theft saying presence of middlemen perpetuates the crime.
On his part, Muhia Kinuthia claimed that he is currently incurring losses as his banana produce is being stolen when is farm
Kinuthia argued he has relied on banana farming for many years but currently it’s hard to raise income from the crop.
“I used to sell a pickup full of bananas when there was adequate rain but currently the production has gone down by more than half. Drought and theft is affecting our farming. We rarely get income from bananas. Apart from theft, monkeys are also destroying our crops. One is forced to harvest bananas before they mature due to increased theft,” he said.
A manager with a local cooperative society which deals with marketing of bananas Ms. Hellen Wanjogu said production of bananas in Murang’a County has reduced more than half within a period of less than six months.
Wanjogu said her cooperative by the beginning of the year used to receive more than 600 kilos of bananas but currently, they hardly get about 300 kilos.
The manager said demand for bananas has gone up as the cooperative could not provide needed produce to customers who come as far as from Mombasa County.
“We hope the region will receive rains soon but we also requested the security officers to protect our farmers from increased theft.” She said.
By Bernard Munyao and Jane Wanjiru