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Kabondo Kasipul farmers want potato factory to edge out brokers

By Dalton Nyabundi | August 7th 2019
Women trek to Kibuye market loaded with sweet potato. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Residents of Kabondo Kasipul want the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives to revisit plans to establish a potato processing plant locally to help them commercialise the crop.

Farmers say the establishment of the factory will shield them from heavy post-harvest losses arising from poor farm-to-market links and poor returns.

Kabondo Kasipul is the highest producer of sweet potatoes in Western Kenya.

However, crafty middlemen have been exploiting the weak links to reap profits by buying cheaply from farmers and reselling to retailers, taking home wide margins.

Area MP Eve Obara said the region enjoys good climatic conditions favourable for sweet potato farming, but farmers are abandoning the crop due to poor returns.

Ms Obara said her office and the county government were seeking partners in the event the Government fails to inject capital into kick-starting the factory.

According to the MP, the ministry took a US-based investor to Kabondo, where Homa Bay County Government identified and fenced off 5.4 acres for the project. The project, however, did not take after the groundbreaking. 

“We have identified land for the project. What we want from the Government is the infrastructure that can help our farmers store their produce,” she said.

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