Banana value addition gaining momentum in Kisii County
At the Kisii Agricultural Training Center, Nyangorora Banana Processing Group (NBPG) has been in the business of value addition of bananas for the last three years. Having partnered with the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), Ngangorora began as a youth-owned company investing in tissue culture bananas with the aim of alleviating poverty in Kisii County.
The company collects bananas from 50 contracted farmers in specified collection centers in the county. The produce is brought to the processing center where it is weighed, washed, peeled and used to process the various products.
According to Co-founder Jared Omiso, the company’s products range from banana wine, crisps, flour, juice, jam and pastries such as bread, cakes and buns. The crisps and pastries are distributed in local supermarkets in Kisii, Nairobi and Mombasa. The same are available in gas stations, schools and hospitals. In a day, the company can produce 1000 bags of crisps in different pack sizes.
“The buns are very popular with schools and we also work with hawkers to help push the products,” said Jared.
Business has not been smooth. Since the facility is not their own, operations are sometimes interrupted by groups in training. The electricity supply to the facility has low voltage therefore making it difficult to operate a number of machines at the same time.
Due to the challenges, the current production capacity cannot sustain the market demand therefore limiting their customer base. Transporting the raw materials to the processing facility at times delays production. The company hopes to buy their own equipment as most of what they use is owned by KIRDI.
Nyangorora is working towards operating independently by securing their own facility. The company has expressed interest in working with a grant or debt financing to grow the business.
Being in the KCIC green-tech accelerator program will assist in addressing some of the challenges in market access and branding of their products.
By Mercy Mumo