Banana farmers lose huge local market as disease hits supply
Posted Monday, August 13 2012 at 17:45
According to a pan-African conference in 2008, Uganda produces 10 million tonnes of bananas annually, with an estimated value of $1.7 billion while Kenya produces more than one million tonnes of bananas annually but loses over 40 per cent to pests and poor harvesting.
Ms Moraa, who has been selling bananas for close to 10 years, says she almost closed shop when stock from Kisii started dwindling.
“I suffered a lot when my customers rejected the bananas I was selling; When I got wind of suppliers from Uganda, I was able to revamp my business and of late, I can say my business is doing well” says Ms Moraa.
She says that she buys a bunch of bananas from Uganda at about Sh1,500 and sells it at double the price.
“Customers like the banana because when cooked are very tasty and they even look very appealing,” she says.
Ms Masese says supplies from Kisii were infected with a disease that makes them stunted.
“Customers would buy the fruits and later complain bitterly saying that they were inedible,” she says.
A study published in the Plant Disease Journal, states that xanthomonas wilt also threatens to destabilise food security and affect hundred millions of people and incomes of farmers in some parts of East Africa and Central Africa.
The research shows that Kenya is at risk of the disease and the impact is extreme since it causes the death of the mother plant that contributes to its reproduction cycle.