Waiguru opens first exclusive tomato market

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru admiring a consignment of  tomatoes she had bought and put into a shopping bag after she opened an exclusively and modern tomato only market at Makutano area  this afternoon

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has opened the first exclusive tomato market in the county, bringing the long-awaited relief to commodity farmers and traders.

Makutano Tomato Market becomes the largest tomato aggregation center for county farmers who sell their produce to retail and export traders.

Kirinyaga is the largest producer of tomato in the country with an estimated annual production capacity of 63,000 tons, and  fetching  farmers around Sh 1.5 billion annually.

Neighboring counties as well as Nairobi and Mombasa provide the largest market for the commodity from this  agricultural well-endowed county

 During the official opening  Wednesday, Waiguru said  the market will accommodate about 500 tomato traders who have been selling by the roadside but have since been displaced by the ongoing expansion of the Kenol-Sagana-Marua dual carriage.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru in a jig moment's before opening a modern tomato only at Makutano market ,Mwea West Sub -County. Mutithi Ward MCA where the market is situated Jenaro Njaamumo  also  joins in

“The market will provide a conducive environment for our traders and shield them from harsh weather conditions such as sunshine and rain. Their produce will also be protected from getting spoilt by mud during the rainy seasons, hence reducing post-harvest losses,”  the  county  CEO said .

The governor  noted that the market has modern social amenities such as toilets, car parks, proper storm water drainage as well as adequate lighting system that will lead to extension of transaction hours.

Waiguru said organic waste from the market would be collected by pig farmers to feed their animals  from specially marked dustbins.

“We have also placed waste bins marked Organic and Non-organic with the aim of separating waste from the market. The bins that are marked Organic will be used for dumping the organic waste which will then be collected by our pig farmers to feed their animals,” she  said.  

Added the governor ,”through Wezesha program  we have supported 69 farmers’ groups to upscale tomato production, through construction of green houses for seedling propagation and growing of high yielding  plants ,”.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru admiring a consignment of  tomatoes she had bought and put into a shopping bag after she opened an exclusively and modern tomato only market at Makutano area  this afternoon

This has enabled farmers to plant around 1.1 million seedlings on an extra 122 acres of land which will in turn lead to production of an extra 11,000 tons of tomatoes by  this coming (next month ).

To address post-harvest loses and add value to the tomatoes, Waiguru said that the county government is in the process of constructing a tomato factory at Kangai section ,Mwea constituency, noting that value addition will earn farmers more money and create employment opportunities for Kirinyaga people.

The factory will be making tomato products like tomato sauce, tomato juice, paste, pulp, concentrate and diced tomatoes.

It is also expected the number of tomato farmers will double as a result of the ready market for the produce.

She said that the county administration will continue supporting farmers to upscale tomato farming as well as provision of favorable marketing environment.

“We are in the process of constructing four additional aggregation centers for our farmers in Kibirigwi, Riakiania, Kimbimbi and Togonye, the latter two being for tomato farmers. We are committed to implementing high impact projects that will in the long run touch every household in the county”, said the second time governor who is also the Chairperson of the Council of Governors.

The modern but exclusively tomato Makutano market the Kirinyaga County Government has built as part of it's flagship projects

Besides the tomato aggregation centers, Waiguru’s administration has over the last five years constructed 15 other markets namely: Makutano, Wang’uru, Kagio Cereals market, Kagio Clothes market, Kutus, Kagumo, Kianyaga, Kiamutugu, Kerugoya, Sagana, Kibingoti, Karumandi, Githure, Gathoge and Kerugoya Hospital Fruits Market Sheds.

 Wezesha Kirinyaga program has so far supported about 500 farmers groups to undertake various agricultural value chain projects with an additional 350 groups recruited this year for support in poultry keeping, tomato, avocado, pigs and fish farming among others.


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