Farmers in Meru County have identified value addition as the most viable measure to mitigate against increased wastage of farm products.
Farmers made the observation on Tuesday, during a farm inputs business sensitization meeting by a private company at Kaguma in Imenti Central, saying they expected a bumper harvest from rain fed crops due to the ongoing heavy downpours.
Led by Alex Mwiti, the farmers said most of their farm produce goes to waste due to lack of organized marketing programs, leaving farmers at the mercy of unscrupulous business brokers who have exploited them over the years.
At the same time, the accused the county department of agriculture, saying that technical field officers no longer visit farmers at the grassroots to offer them relevant guidance on upcoming modern farming and storage methods.
Mwiti said some farmers had attempted to venture into value addition but all in vain due to lack of requisite knowledge on how best to handle the readily available agricultural and livestock products.
“The county agricultural and livestock sector remains largely untapped for the benefit of the larger Meru region, hence the need for partnership between the national and county government to fast track value addition approach,” the farmers noted.
However, Mwiti was optimistic that well-coordinated value programs on all farm products including milk would be a guarantee of better returns to the farmers as well as increasing the shelf life of the end product.
He said local farmers were more than committed in their respective areas, adding that the two levels of government must strive to provide farmers with modern farm inputs for better yields.
They said dream of making Meru great as orchestrated by Governor Kiraitu Murungi can only be achieved by implementing projects and programs aimed at improving livelihoods of the people.
By Makaa Margaret