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Tharaka Nithi eyes Dubai market with green grams

Tharaka Nithi is seeking a market for its green grams in the United Arab Emirates. The county is lobbying for buyers in Dubai, the largest city in UAE.

According to the chief officer in charge of Trade, Industry and Co-operative Development, Mr Samuel Gaicura, through the help of the UAE Embassy the produce has successfully been sampled in the market and “welcomed very well by the business people and consumers”.

He said the UAE market would boost local growers’ income, noting that green gram prices in Dubai supermarkets were more than 500 per cent of the local prices.

Mr Gaicura said the county already has an agent in Dubai who is negotiating for a market and they are optimistic Tharaka Nithi could soon sign a deal with several companies and start exporting the produce.

“We don’t want to overwhelm the farmers before we finalise negotiations, but we are sure the market is already there. Many companies are willing to enter into an agreement with us because our produce is considered to be the best in the market,” he said.

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The chief officer added that green grams are heavily consumed in Dubai and that it would be difficult to meet the demand by the residents.

“Every meal in town is served with green grams, including tea. This makes the product fetch a big market in the city,” he said.

Tharaka Nithi administration officer, Trade and Investment Projects Protus Kathenya said: “We are not willing to eliminate local agents in the market but we will engage them in buying provided that the county controls the prices.”

The county official added: “We are not promising to buy at the prices in Dubai, but we are certain that once the market is ready the prices may even double depending on the price agreed upon with the companies in Dubai and the cost of transport.”

Green grams, popularly known as “green gold” among the Tharaka people, have been doing very well in the semi-arid climate compared to other cereals like maize, millet and sorghum which require a lot of rainfall.

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