Murang’a County intends to control the price of green bananas to cushion farmers against exploitation by middlemen.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria said the county has a banana sector raking in Sh3.5 billion gross returns yearly as opposed to its Sh5.5 billion potential.
Plans to effect the policy will be rolled out in July.
Areas ranked as top producers are Maragua, Kigumo, Kandara, Gatanga and Kiharu sub-counties respectively. The county said farmers are losing at least Sh2 billion to the middlemen per year.
“We have done our math as a county and we know the middlemen are ripping off our farmers. Like we did with milk where our minimum guarantee price per little has been set at Sh37, we intend to do the same with our bananas,” he said.
A team has been set up to collect views from the farmers.
Banana subsector is the fifth most promising behind dairy, tea, coffee and building and construction. But it is ranked top in the context of small-scale farming impact owing to its low cost of production.
“We will first register all of our banana farmers, group them into co-operative societies and establish unit of measure for the market. We can adopt price for kilogram measure or counting the banana fingers. We will then announce seasonal prices,” he said.
The farmers will further be supported to establish value addition plants to help them maximise on returns.
“We want to empower our farmers to go for the maximised markets. We want to afford them the capital required, expertise needed, ideal inputs and range support in the market structures. Placing raw harvests in the market has proved to be servitude enterprise for farmers across the world,” he said.
Currently Murang’a has 4,915 hectares of land under banana farming but with a 40 percent post-harvest loss and more than 300 per cent in revenue loss due to lack of value addition.