New banana export market excites Taita Taveta farmers

Organic bananas flourish in Taita Taveta County. The county has signed a partnership deal with MESPT to support banana farmers. Photo: Michael Oduor

Taita Taveta County in partnership with Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) plans to export about 700 metric tonnes of organic bananas to Denmark, a deal which will make the county farmers one of the first in the country to export the organic produce.

According to MESPT, the joint project has identified 500 small holder farmers for the organic banana farming, aiming at improving the market for the produce hence reducing poverty levels in the county while promoting environmental conservation.

Through the initiative, a total of 126,000 organic tissue culture banana seedlings will be planted in the county. Some 30,000 seedlings have already been issued to the targeted farmers.


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MESPT supports the agriculture, financial services sectors and green energy in the country.

Danida Market Developments Programme (DMDP) Manager Kuria Kung’u, said there are other 1,500 farmers in the county who are practising conventional banana farming and are also set to receive about 600,000 tissue culture banana seedlings to increase banana production in the region.

“Apart from the current 500 farmers doing organic banana farming, we are also supporting 1,500 farmers doing conventional banana farming in Taita Taveta where we are targeting to support them with about 600,000 tissue culture banana seedlings,” said Kung’u.

DMDP which is currently implemented by MESPT is targeting to export about 7000 Metric tons of organic bananas to Orana, a Danish fruit company.

The County Agriculture Executive Committee Member Eric Kyongo said that the county administration is determined to invest in drainage works to increase production by opening more land for farming. And improving road infrastructure, a move aimed at ensuring easy accessibility of the market.

“We will soon ink a deal with Orana Fruits Company to revive the stalled banana processing plant in Taveta that will be used for value addition to increase farmers’ earnings. However, this might be in vain if we won’t address the existing challenges including poor roads,” he said.


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Kyongo hinted on plans to establish a sanitary pads plant in the area using banana by-products in Taveta Sub- county which he said that are at advanced stages. Executive leaders from Kilifi and Taita Taveta have already held deliberations on the same.

Niels Osterberg, Director, Orana said part of the plans to ensure that the bananas meet the export a standard is to conduct farmer training on post-harvest handling.

On his part, Simon Mwachia, one of the farmers practising organic farming has asked youths in the area to embrace farming – if successful, the synergized efforts in tapping the economic power of banana production — will create both skilled and permanent jobs and that thousands of casual positions for the locals.

Mwachia urged the national government together with the county government to expedite plans to provide adequate water for irrigation for the success of the project.

By Michael Oduor/

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