KNA The Kimbu County Government has set aside Sh20 million for the establishment of a pineapple processing plant in Gatundu North Sub-county to add value on the fruit.
The facility comes as a reprieve, particularly to area farmers who undertake large scale pineapple growing, but lack market for the fruits resulting in them being exploited by brokers.
Kiambu Governor, James Nyoro, said the factory will be put up at Gakoe area, where pineapple farming is prominent, adding they were currently looking for an investor to partner with and complete the processing plant.
“Already consultants are on the ground to come up with the location of the factory and the exact amount of money needed. Thereafter, construction works will begin,” he said.
Addressing pineapple farmers at Gatukuyu market, yesterday, Nyoro said the plant will enable them have direct access to the market as they will sell their pineapples directly to the factory.
He said they will add-value- to the pineapples to make juice and other products that can attract good prices both in the local market and internationally.
The farmers expressed relief, saying the factory will help rid the area off brokers who they termed as the biggest challenge they face.
A farmer, Felistus Wambui, said the factory will revolutionize pineapple farming in the area, giving them a cash crop that they can depend on for a living. “Most of the time, we don’t benefit from the pineapples that we plant as brokers buy the fruit at cut throat prices,” said Wambui.
Other farmers led by Francis Gitau called on the government to accelerate the completion of Kariminu II Dam to help them get water to irrigate their pineapples. They said at times, the pineapples wilt or their quality fluctuates due to water shortage.
The multibillion shillings Dam constructed in the same Sub-county is almost 50 per cent complete and is expected to address water challenges in the area as well as Juja, Ruiru, and Thika Sub-counties. Nairobi County will also benefit with water from the same Dam.