Kirinyaga County Government constructs record 15 markets in three years
The County Government of Kirinyaga is constructing four additional markets for farmers in the county. These will bring to 15, the number of modern markets that Governor Anne Waiguru’s administration has constructed in a record time of three years. The main beneficiaries of the markets that are under construction in Githure, Gathoge, Karumandi and Makutano are avocado and tomato farmers.
Other markets that are already in use are Kagio Cereals Market, Kagio Clothes Market, Kutus, Kerugoya, Makutano, Wang’uru, Kagumo, Kianyaga, Kiamutugu, Sagana and Kibingoti.
The new markets are meant to offer a conducive environment for farmers to aggregate their crop for marketing purposes. The farmers currently sell in open air markets thereby exposing their produce to harsh weather conditions that may lead to some of it getting spoilt consequently depreciating in value. The markets have come at a time when the county government through ‘Wezesha Kirinyaga’ economic empowerment program is supporting farmers groups to increase agricultural production and productivity with the aim of improving their livelihoods. The farmers are being supported to undertake various projects in poultry, avocado, tomato and dairy value chains hence market places become an integral part of the entire agricultural value chain.
Bancy Waithira, a trader in Githure market says that she looks forward to completion of the market which comes as a great relief to them since they have been selling their produce under very harsh conditions. “We are forced to spend money to bring produce to the market and we have to take the surplus back home since we have nowhere to leave them.” She said, noting that the new market will allow them to store their produce there overnight. Her sentiments were echoed by Elizabeth Njoki who says that since time immemorial, Githure trading center has never had a conducive environment place for farmers to sell in. She said that they have been selling by the roadside under makeshift shelters covered with polythene sheets, and thanked Governor Waiguru for the initiative.
Governor Waiguru has also said that plans to establish an avocado collection and packaging center where the county’s avocados will be processed, packaged and branded in readiness for local and export markets are underway. She added that a tomato factory will also be construction to enable processing of tomatoes for the local and export markets. She said that the factory will enable farmers earn more money from tomato products and save them from post-harvest loses.
To boost production farmers have been supported to establish nurseries where they are propagating quality tomato and avocado seedlings for sale to other farmers within and outside the county.