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Sh17m banana factory set to open its doors

Friday July 8 2016

Banana farmers are set to benefit from the opening of a banana processing plant in Khwisero.

A banana farmer displays his banana harvest in his farm. Banana farmers are set to benefit from the opening of a banana processing plant in Khwisero. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LINET WAFULA
By LINET WAFULA
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A Sh17 million banana processing plant is ready for take-off in Khwisero.

The project has received Sh10 million from the National Government Affirmative Action kitty and Sh7.4 million from the Special Programmes Department.

To boost supply of bananas for the factory, the county government distributed 18,000 tissue culture seedlings in the 12 sub-counties.

County Woman Rep Rachael Ameso said the plant is expected to handle at least two metric tonnes of bananas daily.

She said banana farming is a lucrative venture and residents can benefit from value addition. “We want to manufacture wine and bread and explore several other uses for bananas,” she said.

She urged women and the youth to embrace the new venture.

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BANANA BACTERIAL WILT

Farmers said the plant will help develop the region and create jobs.

“We now have a ready market for our produce,” said Mary Wekesa, who has two acres of the crop.

They, however, asked the government to find a solution to Banana Bacterial Wilt which is destroying the crop in parts of the county.

They said the disease can cause up to 100 per cent losses if not controlled.

“Western Kenya produces over 60 per cent of the bananas consumed in Kenya and if something is not done urgently, it could have serious consequences on food and income security of small-scale farmers,” said Mr Tom Kiima, a farmer.