The government is in the process of setting up two potato cold storage facilities in efforts to reduce post-harvest losses in the agriculture sub-sector.
The two facilities are under construction in Meru and Nyandarua counties within another one in Kisii to store bananas.
Micro and Small Enterprise Authority Board Chairman Charles Waithaka says the Kshs. 100 million facility in Meru will be ready for by end of February.
“The facility will have capacity of 300 pallets of packed potatoes. The purpose is to safeguard against post-harvest losses around Timau and ensure produce do not go to waste. Every time we have had excess harvest we have lost a lot of potatoes,” said Waithaka.
According to Waithaka, the facility will also open up the region to processing through provision of high quality varieties that will boost production.
The facility forms phase one of project implementation where phase two will involve value addition.
“It is a fact from statistics that at least 33.3% of the annual potato harvest is lost at the post-harvest harvest level. Within the Big 4 Agenda, this is a strategic investment by the government to reduce losses incurred by farmers, assist in stabilizing the prices and to form the foundation for value addition,” said Henry Rithaa, MSEA Chief Executive Officer.
Rithaa called on farmers in potato growing regions to join hands and form cooperatives in order to attract private investment in the value chain.
The cold storage facility in Madaraka in Meru County is expected to be operationalized by end of February this year.
Establishment of such facilities are further tipped to protect farmers from exploitative middlemen who take advantage of existing gaps during harvest seasons.
Late last year, construction of a similar cold storage facility in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua county worth Kshs. 100 million was commissioned, as part of the government’s commitment to reduce post-harvest losses and improve food nutrition under the Big 4 Agenda.