The Nakuru County government has pledged to enforce laws that curb exploitation of carrot farmers by middlemen.
The County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Dr. Immaculate Maina said most farmers of the crop were not tapping its maximum potential because they were not members of cooperatives.
Speaking when she visited Mau View Sacco Carrot farmers in Mau Narok, Dr. Maina stated that the devolved unit’s administration was in talks with national government and development partners to help farmers avoid post-harvest loses through establishment of cold rooms and carrot value addition factories.
Dr. Maina revealed that members of the Sacco were exporting 2,850 bags of the produce per week to Uganda adding that her administration was committed to setting up a regional carrot export market that will meet the East African Community’s demands.
Currently, there are at least 500 Cooperatives and Saccos in the county.
The CEC also announced that her department was in talks with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to fast-track certification of Kihingo Milk plant to enable it start packaging and marketing of dairy products in Njoro Sub-County.
Dr. Maina observed that processing of milk and value addition within the production points will greatly reduce losses incurred between farmers and processors.
She said it also assists positively in traceability and branding of the milk by a processor in the market.
The County department of Agriculture, the CEC stated, was developing policies that will protect and facilitate the growth of dairy industry.
Dr. Maina said that carrots farmed in the county had a huge unmet demand in Marikiti, and Kongowea markets in Nairobi and Mombasa respectively, and advised farmers to stick to export rules and regulations so as to penetrate regional and international markets.
The CEC affirmed that the County administration was committed to rescuing farmers from poor markets by helping them harvest quality produce.
“Farmers must ensure that only quality carrots are produced and marketed. Harvesting and export of immature crops negatively affects Kenya’s image in overseas markets.
Farmers willing to export their produce should have valid licenses and be registered as exporters or else their produce will be impounded at border points,” The CEC observed.
By Anne Mwale /David Mururia