The Banana Processing Plant located at Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) on the outskirts of Kisii town has received the first batch of machines worth Sh24 million to enable processing of bananas.
Speaking during the inspection of the machinery at the factory site, Kisii County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Esman Onsarigo said the machines have been locally purchased and perform various functions such as washing and drying the bananas.
“We have gone for the hybrid solar dryers because they retain the quality of the bananas. We do not want to change the quality of the banana that our customers and consumers are used to,” he said.
The purchase of the machinery is sponsored by the county government of Kisii and the European Union who are contributing Sh24 million and Sh35 million respectively.
Onsarigo appealed to the over 20,000 banana farmers in the county to continue planting the crop in order to meet the demand for the processing plant.
“The county government and European Union had provided farmers with 38,000 and 58,000 banana seedlings respectively in the last financial year as part of promoting the development of banana value chain,” Onsarigo added.
Onsarigo also encouraged the youth to establish banana nurseries where farmers can easily access banana planting materials whenever needed.
He expressed his gratitude to the leadership of the county government and the European Union for supporting the development of the plant.
Engineer Jacky Sauka from Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) in Kisumu pointed out that the machines in the plant were in accordance with the specifications that were provided.
The contractor in charge of putting up the solar biomass dryer, Engineer Joshua Obina said the solar dryers will work concurrently with the equipment in the plant and produce eight to ten tonnes per day.
“Minus the solar dryers, the factory will not work. In other words, the factory depends on the materials which are from the dryer section,” Obina said.
Kisii County is also supporting other cottage industries as part of value addition in the banana value chain and these industries are expected to produce products such as wine, paper and fibre.