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Farmers Urged to Export Green Bananas to Korea

Kenyan farmers have been urged to take advantage of the recent clearance to export green bananas as well as Broccoli to Korea.

Through its Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, the Korean government has cleared the exportation of green bananas from Kenya as well as Broccoli.

Broccoli is a green vegetable whose flowering head is eaten and is said to be tasty and rich in dozens of nutrients and in high demand among Koreans.

The State Department of Trade, in a letter to the Principal Secretary, State Department for Crop Development said the news about the new export window should be brought to the attention of the farmers urgently.

The letter signed by the Principal Secretary Dr.Chris Kiptoo, seeks for assistance to contact the farmers and exporters of the two products to enable them take advantage of the opportunity.

Following the decision, farmers in Mt Kenya region were upbeat over the good news and have promised to meet the export demand for the South Korean market.

Sebastian Githinji, one of the crop farmers at Murinduko village said it will be the first time the commodity will be directly sourced from the ground at a negotiated and agreed farm gate price with growers set to reap tidy prices.

“For many years I have farmed bananas without much benefit but now that we will be able to export them directly through an organized system, then this is one opportunity I cannot afford to miss, “an excited Githinji said.

He said already there exists well organized banana farmers within the Mt Kenya region and it will now be just a matter of making several adjustments to suit the new market.

High quality banana farming is common in South and Central Imenti in Meru County, the neighboring upper and middle zones of the neighboring Embu County, Mathira in Nyeri, Maragua in Muranga and Kisii in Nyanza region.

Other banana producers are in parts of Tharaka-Nithi and Kirinyaga Counties where farmers of the crop hailed the development.

At the same time, the Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA), has announced a two year extension on its funding for improved poultry and clean seed potatoes.

This was announced after the end of the three year program that saw poultry farmers from Mbiuni village in Machakos county recorded impressive performance on the program.

KOPIA’s Country Director Dr..Kim Chung Hoe said when the program was started at the village; most farmers had an average of two hens but were presently at 50 birds.

The official also said the farmers who have been grouped together numbering 300 have since managed to save Sh2 million from the sales of the hens and their products within the last three years of the existence of the program in their area.

The improved Kuku Kienyeji breed of poultry which these farmers keep is duo purpose (both eggs and meat production), early maturing and a mature cock can weigh up to seven kilograms.

Speaking when he made a tour of Kirinyaga county recently Dr Kim said potato farmers from  Karai and Wanjohi villages in Kiambu and Nyandarua Counties respectively are now able to produce clean seed potatoes  for sale to others.

He said farmers in Kirinyaga will be supported in potato and Kienyeji chicken production in the next phase of the project.

The Sh 40 million three-year program was rolled at Mbiuni, Karai and Wanjohi villages in 2016 and has made a positive economic impression on the farmers.

La Seung-yong of the Korean Rural Development who accompanied Dr Kim on the tour and who funds the program told the beneficiaries that Sh 40 million more was ready for the farmers this year.

The official said the objective of the program is to enable farmers sustain their projects once the donor pulled out and was optimistic the farmers have now gained the required skills to carry on.

 By Irungu Mwangi


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