The Kisii County Government has received a KShs.110million grant from the European Union to strengthen the banana value chain for local economic development.
Kisii is among 15 counties in Kenya that have benefitted from the EU-Instruments for Devolution Advice and Support (IDEAS) grant that seeks to create employment and generate income for citizens in respective counties.
The total project cost is KShs.155million with the County Government contributing KShs.45million.
County Secretary Patrick Lumumba and CEC for Finance Moses Onderi signed the contract with the PS, State Department of Devolution Charles Sunkuli in Nairobi.
Through the project, the county will build a banana-processing factory at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre, establish 3 collection centres in each ward, supply banana plantlets to farmers, form a producer cooperative and train all actors in the value chain.
“I commend the beneficiary counties for their efforts in developing the project proposals. These are local economic projects that are targeted at creating more jobs as well as incomes for our people. We are looking forward to successful implementation of this project,” said PS Sunkuli.
Other counties in the project include Taita Taveta, Migori, Kwale, Marsabit, Makueni and Laikipia.
CEC for Agriculture Esman Onsarigo said the project would take 19 months to complete saying farmers will be issued with plantlets of ripening and cooking varieties of banana.
“Once the factory is complete, we shall produce banana flour, wine and fibre. The project targets the main banana value chain actors who include input suppliers, 2,250 banana cooperative members in 45 wards, producers, marketers, transporters and consumers,” said Onsarigo.
Local project coordinator Jusper Nyakundi said the factory will offer the best market for producers and other value chain actors, minimize the role of middlemen and improve sales margins.
Banana is the main food security crop in Kisii County which is the leading producer of the cooking variety of banana in Kenya. Current acreage under banana is 6,350ha with an average production of 56 tonnes per hectare annually.
Kisii has two main types of banana which are the desert type and the cooking variety. The cooking type banana occupies a unique niche in the market due its palatability and good taste.
The county intends to produce flour and wine which will be sold as raw material or as finished products.