County bid to boost tomato production ahead of new factory

Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru buys tomatoes at a market at Makutano on November 23 last year. [File, Standard]

James Muriithi, one of the beneficiaries of the tomato project, said they are expecting a bumper harvest in the next two months.

Muriithi, the chairperson of Mwihotori Kerugoya Youth Group, added: "Currently, the crop which is under the group project, is at the fruiting stage. Members have also replicated the project in their private farms by utilizing the knowledge gained from the programme."

He said that while they are currently relying on markets in Kerugoya and surrounding towns, members are anticipating better returns once a processing factory is up and running.

Muriithi noted that members of his group previously used traditional farming methods that were not only expensive but did not guarantee them a good harvest. Diseases and pests would also destroy the crop.

"The advantage of greenhouse farming is that the tomatoes are protected from diseases and pests thus reducing the need to use herbicides and pesticides and eventually reducing cost of production," he said.

Mr Michael Njue said he has been supported in seedling propagation. He runs a seedlings propagation enterprise in Kimbimbi, Mwea, where he established a greenhouse.