Taita Taveta is now the second largest banana producer in Kenya, a statistic that will shift the economic scales of the coastal county.
According to a recent study by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), banana production in Taita Taveta grew from 5 per cent in 2018 to 9.7 per cent in 2020.
In the national scales of banana production, Taita Taveta is now only second to Meru County, which was ranked first with a banana productivity rate of 23.6 per cent.
Currently, there are more than 6,000 banana farmers in the county, with a majority of them from Taita and Taveta Sub-Counties.
The current acreage under banana farming stands at 4, 104 hectares, having increased from 2, 080 hectares in 2017.
The county’s annual banana production in 2020 was 62, 580 tonnes, which goes to local consumption as well as regional and national banana trade.
Taita Taveta has been making huge steps in not only becoming a regional banana production powerhouse but also making a significant mark in the global banana market.
Yesterday, in the company of national and county government officials, and the Danish Ambassador H.E. Ole Thonke; Deputy Governor Mjala Mlagui officiated the launch of the Market Development Banana project in Mokine Village, Taveta Sub-County.
Madam Mlagui lauded the support from the national government and global partners toward making banana production in the county a channel for spurring economic growth and job creation.
“We’re thankful for the commitment and support from the national government and international players toward making banana production a viable economic vessel for creating job opportunities to lift the residents from abject poverty,” remarked madam Mlagui.
The national government has financially supported the 47 counties in their effort to undertake economic projects aimed at creating better living conditions for the locals by creating employment opportunities for women and youth.
The banana production and value-adding efforts in Taita Taveta are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 8 for Decent Work and Economic Growth, and 17 touching on Partnerships for Sustainable Development.
If successful, the synergized efforts in tapping the economic power of banana production will create over 800 skilled and permanent jobs and thousands of casual positions for the locals.
By Arnold Linga Masila