Taita Taveta County emerged 2nd position country-wide in banana production recording an increment in productivity from 5% in 2018 to 9.7% for the year 2020.
This is according to researcher Dr Lusike Wasilwa Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) who also revealed that Meru County took the peak position with a 23.6% productivity.
During the official launch of the Danish International Development Agency(DANIDA) Market Development Banana project in Mukine Village, Taveta Sub-County, H.E. Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui said that the banana crop is grown by over 17,000 households in the county for subsistence and commercial use.
She noted that over 6000 banana farmers in the county, have increased banana acreage from 2,080 hectares in 2017 with current coverage standing over 4,104 hectares, leading to an estimated production of over 65,280 tonnes.
“The County Government through the Department of Agriculture has achieved this by working together with key stakeholders such as DANIDA, European Union, MESPT, Kenya Crops and Dairy Market, Swedish Government through Agriculture Support Development Programme in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Majala Mlagui.
She added that a signed partnership between H.E. Governor Granton Samboja and Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust CEO Ms Rebecca Amukhoye has enabled to support banana farmers and develop the banana sector to enhance competitiveness in Taveta under the 5 year DANIDA Market Development Partnership Programme (DMDP).
County Executive Committee Member in charge of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Davis Mwangoma, echoed the Deputy County Boss sentiments, adding that the construction of the county banana processing plant in Taveta will expand the horticultural crop’s market and create over 800 jobs.
He also noted that the County Government together with MESPT are spurring job creation in the county by enhancing the competitiveness of the banana project together with commercial partner Wanda Agriculture Group and the international partner ORANA.
Hon. Mwangoma concluded that his department has drawn a strategy to encourage banana farmers to increase a possible banana production from 4,000 Ha to 6,000 Ha that will produce over 180 tonnes.
On his part, Royal Danish ambassador H.E. Ole Thonke said Denmark is committed to supporting the programme as it is designed to allow enterprises that are seen towards delivering Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The overall programme aims to contribute sustainable growth bringing commercial and non-commercial actors together in partnerships to promote Sustainable Development Goal SDG 8(Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 17 (Partnerships for Sustainable Development,” H.E. Thonke said.
Meanwhile, Dr Jane Ndung’u, researcher from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, National Government, noted the project will gear towards empowering the locals.
MESPT Board Chair, Noah Meely reiterated that the project will promote the production of the superior banana variety called Grand Nain.
” We shall closely work with the county government, stakeholders and farmers to ensure increase in agricultural productivity, access markets and create direct employment to over 470 decent jobs to locals once the private banana plant is complete,” said Meely.
Area MCA Mbogoni Ward, Hon. Maskuji Jones thanked the collaboration seen by the partners and urged the farmers to invest in banana production and benefit the project that is on course to be constructed.
The partners present participated in a ceremonial banana planting exercise and toured exhibition tables.