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Kisii company ventures into banana (‘Ritoke’) crisps to provide market for farmers

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Nyangorora Banana Processing Ltd Banana Crisps “Ritoke” Brand. Photo courtesy.

A banana value addition company in Kisii County, Kenya is providing ready market for hundreds of farmers in the region by buying the produce from them to make crisps. In this, the farmers who used to sell a bunch at Sh300 to middlemen can now earn up to Sh1,000 a bunch selling to the company.

Nyangorora Banana Processing Ltd which was started two years now has over 500 contracted farmers within Kisii and Nyamira counties.

“We adopted the value addition idea after attending a farmer’s conference in Uganda where we learnt how to make several end products from different varieties of bananas. These products have potential to earn growers more income than selling the raw produce,” said Ibrahim Nyamweya, one of the company directors.

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In Nyamira, the company has 24 banana collection centres where farmers harvest and put together their produce for pick-up to the company while in Kisii it has 12 such centres.

“We decided to create the collection centres because our farmers practice small-scale farming and collecting the produce at one given point makes it easier for us to limit the cost of transport,” said Nyamweya.

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However, due to lack of enough facilities and capital, the young company relies on Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) machines to make the product.

“The challenge is that we cannot surpass a given limit because we do not have our own facilities and the KIRDI machines we rely on are also being used by other processors hence there are restriction on time and the production capacity for amicable sharing,” said Nyamweya.

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The company is currently producing 2,000 to 3,000 kilos of crisps in a month that is sold in open-air markets, schools and individuals who place their orders online on Facebook or WhatsApp.

“Lack of facilities has costs us bigger markets. There was a time Tuskys Supermarket wanted us to supply them with a tonne of crisps per week but we ended up losing it because we do not have the capacity to produce the required measure,” said Nyamweya.

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