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Banana factory in Murang’a to promote value-addition

Saba Saba Agribusiness cooperative society’s banana factory in Murang’a County is finally taking shape after projections spanning over 20 years since its inception.

The Sh.24 million facility that is meant for banana products value addition is set to be commercially operational early next year.

Speaking to KNA in Saba Saba at the cooperative’s one-acre piece of land where the factory’s construction is in the initial stages, the chairman of the agribusiness cooperative society Alex Kamau was optimistic that the banana factory will be a game changer in the market.

“We intend to produce banana flour, banana crisp, banana jam, banana juice, banana wine among other products from the raw bananas that we receive in our collection center,” he observed

The cooperative also intends to set up a cafeteria and a bakery dealing with banana products only.

Currently, the cooperative which assists farmers from Murang’a, Kirinyaga and neighbouring counties has seen over 1800 farmers sell their bananas highly devoid of middlemen and brokers.

“Once the farmers deliver their produce here, it is weighed, graded and payment is made to them through the banks on a weekly basis at Sh13 per kilo,” explained Kamau

Kamau argues that by adding value to the raw bananas, the farmers will get higher returns compared to what they are getting now.

Consequently, the cooperative society organises monthly trainings for its members, refers required extension services and negotiates fertiliser subsidy on their behalf.

“We not only market their produce but make sure the farmers get a holistic benefit through the trainings which cover profitable farming practices, dairy farming, their health among others,” Kamau further added

The cooperative which started its operations in 2004 secured a grant of Sh20 million from the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) to set up the banana plant.

The facility will also create massive employment for the locals upon its completion.

By Florence Kinyua

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