Plan to revive stalled avocado factory raises hope

A trader sells avocados at Kangemi market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kisii Govenor James Ongwae has launched a campaign to restore avocado farming in the county.

Mr Ongwae promised that the county government will revive a stalled avocado processing plant in the agriculture-rich region.

Farmers are banking on the factory to end their woes of making huge losses.

Since the processing plant stalled, a good share of their produce has been going to waste for lack of market.

The farmers also had to deal with the problem of middlemen fleecing them.

Plans to construct the processing plant at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre has come six years after similar efforts failed to take off.

Governor Ongwae, who together with other county officials recently visited the site of the project, said a contractor is already on the ground. The governor promised to see that the project is completed.

Agriculture executive, Mr Esman Onsarigo, said the factory will soon be operational but did not give a timeline.

“We have been working on the structure for the last five months. I urge farmers to prepare to supply the factory with the avocados,” he said.

Some farmers who had ventured into growing the fruit when the project was first conceived, abandoned it following a series of frustrations.

They had ventured into large-scale production of the fruit in anticipation of the big payout.

It was envisioned to be a ground-breaking investment in a county that majorly relies on agriculture for its economy.

However, the farmers were disappointed when the project failed to live up to expectations with huge portions of their produce rotting on the farms because to lack of a ready market.

Mary Kwamboka, a farmer from Nyaribari Chache, said that they have high expectations of having a ready market with the revival of the processing plant.

“We are certain that we will earn good money once the factory is fully operational. Six years ago we had such hopes, but it did not go as planned,” said Ms Kwamboka.