The County Government of Meru has moved to scale-up banana crop production and trade, in a bid to boost profits for farmers.
According to the County Agriculture Executive (CEC), Ms Carol Mutiga, the County Government is constructing a banana winery that will not only ensure value addition to the crop, but also ensure farmers are not exploited by the middlemen.
The banana winery that is located in Abogeta East has been under construction in phases and was first launched by Meru Governor, Mr. Kiraitu Murungi, in 2017 and is expected to be completed by the year 2023.
The winery also aims to raise the income of the farmers, who have been falling prey to brokers who buy bananas at low prices.
The County Government has, therefore, developed a Crop Policy that will enable farmers sell their banana per Kilogram through weighing scales, as opposed to the current methods being used by the middlemen.
“The new Policy seeks to put a minimum price of Sh15 to Sh65 per kilogram, depending on type and variety,” said Ms Mutiga. She called on banana farmers to adopt smart farming and treat agriculture as a profession and business.
“Agricultural activities have become an integral part of our economy; it has created income and various employment opportunities. l am, therefore urging those who want to venture in farming to treat it like any other job,” said Ms Mutiga.
The County has also embarked on a training exercise for all the banana farmers that will ensure the adoption of smart farming in order to boost yield.
The ongoing exercise aims at educating the farmers on the right application of certified seeds for maximum returns.
Currently, there are 2,200 farmers involved in banana farming in Meru County, with the majority being found in South Imenti.
By Millicent Nkirote and Erick Otieno