90% of the Bananas consumed in Mombasa comes from Taveta.
Farmers in Taita Taveta county have been encouraged to commercialize the banana value chain as the county government and other stakeholders brace to push the commodity's production to 40% per acre from the total target of 700,000 seedlings in Taveta sub-county.
The county government has sofar distributed 60,000 seedlings (50,000 to Taveta farmers and 10,000 to other 3 sub-counties)
Speaking during a banana field event in Taveta, Taita Taveta County Governor H.E Hon. Andrew Mwadime reiterated on need for synergy between the two arms of government, development partners and people of good will in bid to spur county economy through job creation.
He said works for rehabilitation of irrigation canals are underway and this will help address perennial challenge of floods and ultimately boost banana productivity in Taveta sub-county.
"While we invest in production and productivity, this will be unfinished task if we do not engage in value addition. It is for that matter that my Government is on the verge of completing Banana Processing Plant in this Taveta Sub County." The county boss said.
Already, 9 banana collection centres have been established in strategic banana growing localities.
"In our endeavour to ensure food security, let us do that prudently. Let us not aim at maximum but optimal utilisation of the resources. This will indeed avoid overexploitation of the resources. Production ought to be of sustainable in nature." He added.
His sentiments have been echoed by Ag. County Executive Committee Member incharge of Agriculture Grantone Mwandawiro who acknowledged partnership between county government and other stakeholders in supporting the value chain saying jobs will now be created.
"Am delighted to learn that atleast 600 direct jobs will be created through our partnership with Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust - MESPT, I humbly challenge farmers to get fully into production as we continue to address challenges raised including water management i.e floods, dilapidated critical infrastructure i.e roads, access to clean seeds among others." He said.
MESPT CEO Rabbeca Mkoya said under the 5 year programme set to expire in 2025, MESPT is planning to develop a banana factory that will produce 40 metric tons of pulp per year.
"We have already engaged 20 famers as nursery operators who have already established demo farms for banana tissue culture technology. We remain optimistic that the number will grow to enable us attain the 700,000 seedlings target by June next year." Madam Mkoya added.
MESP has initiated talks with the university of Taita Taveta to help set up a county tissue culture seedlings lab in the county.
Today's field day under the theme "integrating greening in agriculture value chain" targeted 2,000 farmers doing both organic and conventional farming in banana value chain.
Danida Market Development Partnership (DMDP) and Micro Enterprises Support Programme (MESPT) were among stakeholders present in todays event.
Taveta sub-county Members of County Assembly led by host MCA Crispus Tondoo urged governor Mwadime to reconsider shillings 25M set aside in the last financial year for construction of two check-dams as the sub-county continues to battle with floods.
His Mata ward counterpart Isaac Matolo said construction of similar check-dams in Tsavo west will not only avert the current situation in his ward but also provide water for wildlife.
Earlier, the team visited the Moonberg organic farm currently doing over 135 acres of organic banana farming and later commissioned a banana tissue culture seedlings at the green gold demo farm in Mboghoni ward before touring Maridadi demonstration farm doing conventional farming currently producing 50tons per hectare.
Maridadi farm is among farms supported by MESPT.