By Verenardo Meeme, 24 August 2020
More than 2,200 green and ripe banana farmers in Meru County will benefit from the construction of the ksh.94 million worth market by the end of this year.
The move is expected to improve farmers’ market operations by providing a clean environment for handling produce that guarantees consumers’ safety and health. This compared with the current setting where producers sell their fresh produce by the roadside in open-air environments.
Residents and commuters have been facing traffic snarl-ups during market days as the market is situated along the busy Meru, Nairobi road in Ntharene, South Imenti Sub-County of Meru County. “Tracks picking the commodity are presently packed beside the road creating slow movements of goods. The new facility will have an elaborate access where tracks will be packed as farmers and traders interact efficiently”, says Dionisia M’eruaki, Chief Officer, agriculture, Meru County.
According to Twiga foods, Meru County is the largest producer of bananas in Kenya, producing 127,575 tonnes of bananas annually from 8,505 acres. When completed, the market is expected to accommodate up to 20, 000 people. Meru County Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu also hinted at the building of cold potato storage in other sub-counties to support potato farmers through the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project partnership.
The market facility is funded by the World Bank, National Government and County Government of Meru. According to the World Bank, the development objectives of the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project for Kenya are to increase agricultural productivity and profitability of targeted rural communities in selected Counties.
Further, the project aims to strengthen county governments’ capacity to support community-led development initiatives that aim to increase agricultural productivity and profitability, leading to improved livelihoods and reduced vulnerabilities of targeted rural communities.