Kirinyaga County is building four additional markets in a bid to spur economic growth in the region.
These will bring to 15 the number of modern markets that Governor Anne Waiguru’s administration has built in a span of three years.
The main beneficiaries of the markets that are under construction in Githure, Gathoge, Karumandi and Makutano are avocado and tomato farmers.
Some of the markets that have been completed and in use are Kagio, 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 their produce in open air markets, exposing it to harsh weather conditions that may lead to some of it getting spoilt, hence depreciating in value.
These markets have come at a time when the county government, through the Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment programme, is supporting farmers’s groups to increase agricultural production 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 the market have become an integral part of the entire agricultural value chain.
Bancy Waithira, a trader at Githure market, said that she looks forward to its completion, which will be 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 store it,” she said.
She noted that the new market will allow them to store their produce there overnight.
Her sentiments were echoed by Elizabeth Njoki, who said that Githure trading center has never had a conducive place for farmers to sell their produce.
She said that they have been trading on the roadside in makeshift shelters covered with polythene papers.
Governor Waiguru has also revealed that plans to establish an avocado collection and packaging center are underway. Avocados grown in the county will be processed, packaged and branded at the processing plant in readiness for local and export markets .
She added that a tomato factory will also be constructed to enable processing of the produce 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 losses.
To boost production, farmers have been supported to establish nurseries where they are propagating quality tomato and avocado seedlings for sale to other growers within and outside the county.