Going Bananas

Going Bananas

 

going bananas

Bananas are big business in Kirinyaga County, Kenya, with sales of $100 million per year. 2SCALE, in partnership with government agencies and private firms, is helping to make the business even bigger.

We’ve linked banana farmers to bulk buyers, banks and suppliers of farm inputs. Jomo Kenyatta University and private firms such as Stokman Rozen, with 2SCALE support, have introduced tissue-cultured banana seedlings. Fertilizer manufacturer ARM Holdings has developed a new fertilizer specially blended for banana. CropLife channels agro-inputs from several companies, allowing banana farmers to access fertilizers and agrochemicals at affordable prices. And these activities are not restricted to 2SCALE; they are being integrated into the action plan of the government’s Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP).

New agribusiness opportunities have been identified, for example, ‘hardening off’ of tissue-culture seedlings. 2SCALE support has helped create a small, but rapidly growing niche market. Local entrepreneurs buy young, fragile seedlings and keep them in screen-houses for 2-3 months. Once the seedlings become sufficiently robust to survive in an orchard, they are sold to banana farmers.

The next step: developing completely new markets. 2SCALE teams are identifying processing companies interested in creating banana food products for low-income families.