Sweet potato yield in Kenya. Photo courtesy.
Migori County government has partnered with European Union to construct a mini sweet potato processing plant, the first of its kind in the region that will enable more than 6,500 farmers find market for their produce.
The factory which will be built at Getonganya in Kuria West Sub County is expected to process over 100 tonnes of sweet potatoes daily further giving famers an opportunity to expand production in the area.
This is seen as a boost to potato farmers in Migori County were over 0.3 million tonnes of sweet potatoes are produced a year.
According to February 2015 report by Ilaria Tedesco and Tanya Stathers for the University of Greenwich on Sweet potato value chains in Kenya an estimated 6, 500 farmers in Kuria are involved in the production of the crop but often failed to get sustained market for the produce.
Sweet potato is a major cash crop in Migori County, where 90 per cent of the crop produced is sold to traders or consumers.
Sweet potato yields are high in the county due to the good quality of the soil and favourable climatic conditions. In recent years farmers have been increasing the area they plant to SP, this is because it has lower production costs than tobacco or maize due to it being grown without inputs such as fertiliser and wood for curing
Some of the sweet potato varieties grown in the region include Balozi, Nyabisguguki, Surambaya, Rongambo and Morozigori.
“This is an opener of trade that if handled well can open the industry to the world hence uplifting the economy of both the Kuria community and Migori at large,” said PS for Devolution Nelson Marwa who lead a delegation both from the County and National Government.
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However, Marwa pointed out that cattle’s rustling in the area was a setback that would ruin growth and development.
He placed cattle rustlers on notice saying that their days were numbered.
Marwa asked the security agents to move with speed and cub the menace to make this project a success.
Speaking at the same function, Kuria East Member of Parliament Marwa Kitayama asked the residents to embrace the project and keep politics out of it.
He noted that leaders especially from the Kuria community should remain united and give the community a good sense of direction.