Sh40M sweet potato processor opens for Meru farmers

Sweet potatoe farmers at Kiangwaci village in Sagana Kirinyaga County, prepare their produce ready to be transported to Nairobi. [Photo by Kibata ihu/Standard]

Sweet potato farmers are set to increase their earning, thanks to a new Sh40 million processing plant.

Launching the factory at Maua on Wednesday, Governor Kiraitu Murungi said it would help farmers add value to their produce.

The project was funded by the European Union through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).

The project promises good returns for farmers in the nine sub-counties who have been selling their unprocessed produce at throwaway prices.

Mbae Manane, the chairman of the Meru Friends Sacco, which will run the factory, said operations had started.

"The products are selling like hot cakes. I appeal to the county government to support local sweet potato farmers," said Mr Manane.

The factory is producing bread, queen cakes, crisps, cookies, and flour from sweet potatoes.

"Before, farmers took their produce to the markets and the returns were not good. But now they are earning between Sh30 and Sh35 for a kilogramme of sweet potatoes delivered to this factory. All of them are members of our sacco and pay Sh1, 000 to register. Value-addition is the way to go,” said Manene.

Mr Murungi and the agriculture executive, Kiugu Karwitha, said the factory would turn around the lives of the farmers as they reap benefits from their produce.

“There is no other such factory in Meru. We are grateful to the European Union and the NDMA for this initiative we believe will increase earnings for our farmers,” said Murungi.