Traders in Kirinyaga set to benefit from two new modern markets as facilities near completion.
Two new modern markets being constructed by the County Government of Kirinyaga to support farmers to upscale horticulture farming are nearing completion.
The two markets — Togonye and Riakiania — will provide farmers a central place to aggregate and sell their fresh produce.
Governor Anne Waiguru said the new markets will also help in elimination of middlemen and reduction of post-harvest losses.
The markets with a capacity to accommodate about 2000 traders target the local residents will be a great relief to tomato, rice, avocado and other fresh produce farmers.
The facilities have modern social amenities such as toilets, car parks, adequate water supply, proper storm water drainage as well as adequate lighting system that will lead to extension of transaction hours. The markets will also be fenced so as to enhance security.
Waiguru said together with other markets which were constructed earlier, the facility will further support agro-processing industries at the upcoming Sagana Industrial Park in of easy aggregation of the agricultural produce.
“My administration will continue supporting farmers to upscale farming as well as provision of favourable marketing environment,” she said.
Togonye and Riakiania markets, bring to 17, the number of markets that Governor Waiguru’s administration has built in the last three years. Others are Makutano, Wang’uru, Kutus, Kerugoya, Kianyaga, Kagumo, Kiamutugu, Kagio Fresh Produce market and Kagio Clothes Market, Kibingoti, Sagana, Karumandi, Githure and Gathoge.
“We have also successfully lobbied the National Government for the construction of another three markets in Kiburu, Kimbimbi and Mukarara to bring the total to 21 markets against our target of 25 aggregation centres across the County,” Waiguru said.
County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture, Livestock, Veterinary and Fisheries Dr. John Gachara said the markets will serve as a crucial hub for both traders and farmers, facilitating the shift from subsistence to commercialized farming.
Gachara said construction of additional markets and aggregation centers has helped farmers earn more from their produce as has reduced cost of transportation, post-harvest losses and provided a direct link between farmers and traders thus doing away with middlemen.
“Construction of all these markets by Governor Waiguru is meant to help farmers earn more from their produce so as to improve their livelihood,” Gachara said.
Murinduko Member of the County Assembly (MCA) Charles Nyamu said the market will also offer a big relief to traders who did not have a central place to sell their goods. He said that apart from offering farmers a place to aggregate their produce, the market will also boost revenue collection for the county as it will bring in traders from far and wide.
The MCA pointed out that the market will play a pivotal role in boosting the local economy and generating job opportunities.
“This project not only ensures financial benefits for produce sellers in the market but also, with approximately 1000 traders transacting, it will catalyze the growth of small-scale businesses, including clothing stores and hotels in the area,” he said.
Geoffrey Maina, a trader at Togonye, said for a long, they faced many challenges selling their wares which included being rained on and dirty environment, lack of washrooms and clean water which are essentials for a conducive environment for business.
“We are happy that final this promise by our Governor Anne Waiguru to build us a market has been fulfilled, as traders we excited and we look forward to its completion,” he said.
Faith Wangari, the chairlady of Togonye Market, echoed Maina’s sentiments, expressing their joy, particularly about having a shelter that shields them from harsh weather condition like rain and sun. She emphasized the significance of the security lighting, providing residents with a sense of assurance regarding their safety.
Kamau Murigu, a trader at Riakiania market, underscored the notable progress in the construction of the market, saying the new facility will be a big sigh of relief to traders who for long had to wade in mud to sell their wares.
“We anticipate more traders and buyers will troop in once the market is completed. Our expectations are high in terms of selling more bananas, avocados, and macadamia nuts, ultimately contributing to increased income in our pockets and the flourishing of our businesses,” Murigu said.
“We are happy that finally the promise from our Governor to build us a market has been fulfilled. We have endured challenging conditions, staying in the mud and under trees. This market will not only give us profits but also grow the population in the area,” said Grace Karimi, another trader at the market.