Kenyan Government Invests in Cold Storage Facilities
The Kenyan 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. Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA) Board Chairman Charles Waithaka said the KSHS100m (USD900,000) facility in Meru will be completed by the 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 does not go to waste. Every time we have had excess harvest we have lost a lot of potatoes,” said Waithaka.
According to him, the facility will also open up the region to processing through provision of high quality varieties that will boost production.
“It is a statistical fact that at least 33.3% of the annual potato harvest is lost at the post-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 CEO.
Rithaa called on farmers in potato growing regions to join hands and form cooperatives in order to attract private investment in the value chain. Building 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 was also commissioned.