Farmers to benefit from Sh20m processing plant

By Dennis Bett
Elgeyo Marakwet County
has set aside Sh20 million
to establish fruit, tomato,
mango and milk processing
plants.
Agriculture Chief Officer
Pius Cheserek also revealed
that private investors have injected
Sh50 million to boost
value addition in the county’s
four Sub-Counties.
The disclosure comes at a
time when it is estimated that
farmers are losing 50 per cent
of the value of their crops due
to lack of value addition on agricultural
products.
Cheserek noted that fruit
and potato farmers are worst hit
by the losses, saying that plans
are in place to provide value addition
of their farm produce.
“We are talking to investors
to help us process fruits. The
county has a huge potential of
mango, passion fruits and tomato
production,” he said at Kamwosor
County Hall, in Keiyo
South Sub-County recently.
He called on farmers to
produce more groundnuts after
the county found a market in
Nairobi, adding farmers in the
county have put 3,000 acres into
groundnut production.
On maize production, Cheserek
said the farmers in the county
will reduce maize production by
70 per cent in the next two years
following poor maize prices and
high costs of production.
He said an investor who had
shown interest in establishing a
mango processing plant last year
abandoned the project due to undisclosed
reasons.
“Farmers have also faced
problems such as diminishing
maize yield, coupled with
emerging crop diseases which
have discouraged farmers from
venturing into maize production,”
Cheserek added.
The Chief Officer said that
the county has spent Sh11 million
to purchase equipment for
Metkei Milk Co-operative Society
to enable it start processing
milk, adding that installation was
ongoing.
“Once complete, this will be
the first processing plant in the
county. We are also hoping to
complete the Sh5 million tomato
processing factory in Emsoo
Ward,” he said.
“We are targeting two neighbouring
counties to ensure that
we get enough passion fruits to
sustain a factory as we will require
approximately 10,000 acres
under passion fruits,” Cheserek
said.

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