Kenya to Increase Tomato Production in Advance of New Factory.

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The county government of Kirinyaga in Kenya is taking steps to boost tomato output, including giving farmers seedlings and aiding them in building greenhouses. According to Governor Anne Waigur, the incoming Sagana Agro-Industrial City’s tomato processing business would need produce from nearby farmers, 

To increase production, the local government has already assisted 69 farmers in building greenhouses and cultivating high-yielding, disease-tolerant tomato varieties. About 60,000 tonnes of tomatoes are produced in Kirinyaga each year, bringing in about Sh1.6 billion for the farmers.

More than 2,000 farmers have received funding from the Wezesha Programme to plant an additional 1.1 million seedlings and cover an additional 122 acres of land with tomatoes. As a result, production has grown by 11,000 tonnes.

According to Ms. Waiguru, the farmers will benefit most from the new agro-industrial metropolis since they will have a ready market for their products. “Our farmers will additionally be saved from post-harvest losses and reap more from value addition,” she said.

Farmers will be able to pool their resources through Tomato Growers Cooperative Societies and bargain for higher prices for their produce. Additionally, they will receive training and be integrated into the tomato factory’s supply chain.

One of the project’s beneficiaries, James Muriithi, stated that a bountiful harvest is anticipated over the following 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 claimed that although they now depend on marketplaces in Kerugoya and the nearby towns, they are looking forward to higher profits once a processing factory is operational.

Muriithi said that members of his group had previously employed conventional agricultural techniques, which were both costly and did not ensure a healthy crop. The crop would also be destroyed by illnesses and bugs.

“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.

Michael Njue said that he had received assistance with seedling propagation. He built a greenhouse at Kimbimbi, Mwea, where he operates a seedling propagation business.

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