The Kisii county government has started the process of constructing a multimillion-shilling banana processing factory in a bid to support banana farming in the region.
Gucha sub-County Agricultural officer, Richard Ogendo confirmed that construction of the factory within Kisii Agricultural Training Institute using a Sh160 million grant provided by European Union (EU) has started and is set to be in operation before end of the year.
“The European Union is giving infrastructural support such as drilling water which would be used in the factory and also to serve neighbouring institutions and residents,” he said.
The factory will process bananas to produce flour, wine and animal feeds from waste materials and provide a major boost for banana farmers in the county and the surrounding areas. Ogendo said the agriculture department has started reviving a banana co-operative which has been dormant for a while to buy bananas from farmers and deliver to the factory.
He said groups of farmers already identified to be supported by other organisations such as World Bank in their banana farming ventures now have ready market for their produce as the factory will require bananas throughout the year for it to operate efficiently.
David Obondo, the agricultural technical officer while taking banana farmers through training advised them to embrace hybrid species which can endure adverse weather conditions and are disease resistant.
“The panama disease which at the moment is incurable discouraged many banana farmers from pursuing the venture but the hybrid banana species approved and provided by Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation in Kisii are highly recommended and will not disappoint any farmer,” he said.