NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
On his poultry farm in Kitengela, a suburb on the
outskirts of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, James Kanani keeps
layers for eggs.
Kanani has been a
farmer for the last four years, running the agribusiness
alongside his daily job as a secondary school teacher in the
fast-growing urban settlement.
From his 500 birds,
Kanani gets some 450 eggs every day that he has been selling to
shopkeepers across the town.
However, despite his
cost of production rising, the price of his produce has been
going down, forcing him to sell a tray of 30 eggs at 2.6 U.S.
dollars, down from 2.8 dollars in April.
Kanani blames his
predicament on a surge in cheap imports from the neighboring
Uganda, which has spoilt market for Kenyan farmers.
completely spoilt the market for us. The eggs are going for as
low as 2.4 dollars a crate in some places,” said the farmer
From eggs to dry
maize, onions, potatoes, melons and tomatoes, the imports from
the neighboring Uganda and Tanzania are on the rise giving
produce from Kenya stiff competition.
And the local
farmers like Kanani are feeling the pinch as they have to bring
down the cost of their farm produce to compete with the imports.
“It is becoming
difficult to sell produce from our farms because even traders
now prefer those from Tanzania. I have been growing onions in
Juja, Kiambu County, for some years now, and last month I
harvested and called a trader to buy my produce but he informed
me he had cheaper onions from Tanzania,” said Bernard Watuti,
who sells 10kg of his produce at 3 dollars.
The trader informed
Watuti that Tanzanian onions are popular because they have a
longer shelf-life as compared to those from Kenyans.
At Wakulima market,
in the central business district, that the imports are on high
demand is apparent as dozens of lorries with produce from
Tanzania that include potatoes, fruits and onions arrive there
several lorries with Tanzanian registration had parked at the
market offloading oranges and onions.
“They arrive here
very early in the morning and offload the produce to traders and
leave in the afternoon. Up to 20 lorries come here every day,”
said Joyce Kimani, a fruit vendor, who noted that Tanzanian
oranges are now in season.
farmers and some traders have protested against the rise in
imports, calling on the government to regulate importation of
In Nyeri last week,
traders and farmers protested against an influx of onions from
Tanzania, noting they had ruined prices in the market.
A kilo of onions in
the county is going for 0.25 dollars for Grade 1 and 0.15
dollars for Grade 2, down from 0.50 dollars and 0.30 dollars
“We are having
serious challenges when it comes to selling our produce because
of the huge surplus of produce from Tanzania,” Fred Kingori, a
Maize farmers in
breadbasket regions of the Rift Valley have similarly complained
of the influx of imports from Uganda, which have spoilt the
market with a bag of maize going for 15 dollars amid ongoing
Prices are expected
to decline further as the East African nation expects a bumper
harvest of at least 40 million bags of maize. With a spike in
imports, the price of the produce is expected to hit a new low.
“A lot of maize is
coming in from Uganda currently and this would certainly push
the cost of the produce down,” said Bernard Moina, an
agricultural officer in Kitale, western Kenya.
He noted that Kenyan
produce is finding it hard to compete with those from Tanzania
and Uganda because farmers in the nations have government
subsidies, which have made farm inputs cheaper.
farmers have no choice but to contend with the produce because
we have trading protocols that allow free movement of goods and
service,” he said.
FAO supports Kenyan farmers
with driers to curb waste in fresh produce harvest
KITUI (Xinhua) --
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations (FAO) said it will support the construction of
vegetable and fruits solar driers to reduce wastage during peak
Tian Cai, FAO
program officer in charge of increasing smallholder productivity
and profitability (ISPP) project in Kenya, said on Friday that
the solar driers will help reduce wastage of fresh produce like
vegetables, pawpaw and mangoes that are produced in abundance
“Lots of vegetables
and fruits are reportedly going to waste every year during peak
seasons leading farmers to make losses,” Tian told Xinhua in
lower eastern county of Kitui.
She revealed that
the UN food agency has already constructed a drier in Kitui
County for members of Kithingali self-help group at a cost of
3,000 U.S. dollars.
“We intend to
construct additional two driers for farmers in Makueni and
Tharaka Nithi counties,” said Tian.
She said the driers
will also help farmers increase nutrition status, profitability
and productivity of their vegetables and fruits.
The official said
that FAO has also trained 40,000 farmers since October last year
on agronomy, water use, irrigation, nutrition and agribusiness.
“We are planning to
train a total of 80,000 farmers in the arid and semi-arid
eastern Kenyan counties of Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Makueni,
Machakos and Taita Taveta,” said Tian.
She noted that
through the project, farmers will be able to transition from
subsistence to commercially viable food production systems that
promise better revenues and nutrition.
Tian noted that the
farmers are also being trained on how to enter into contract
farming with buyers as this help reduces food wastages.
She said around
8,500 farmers in the four counties now grow kitchen garden and
16,000 preserve vegetables for their household consumption.
Tian revealed that a
recent project evaluation shows that majority of farmers can
consume the vegetable produced on their kitchen garden for at
least three months in a year.
“The project is to
increase farmers’ nutrition status by improving their access and
consumption of nutritious food from their farms as opposed to
selling all the produce from their farms,” said the FAO
“We designed and
offer farmers a package of nutrition activities to ensure
farmers can learn practice and adopt knowledge about nutrition.
Most of the farmer groups trained on nutrition have positively
responded,” she added.