Experts to chart the way forward for a stronger banana sub-sector at inaugural Banana Conference


More than 300 experts will convene in Nairobi to discuss key issues affecting the banana sector

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 23, 2013/ More than 300 experts including top leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural research institutes, non-governmental organizations, regional bilateral institutions, development partners, financial institutions and farmer organizations will convene at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) Headquarters, in Nairobi to discuss key issues affecting the banana sector. The conference is themed: “Fostering Partnerships for an Improved Banana Subsector in Kenya” and is jointly convened by the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP), the Banana Growers Association of Kenya (BGAK) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) (http://www.agra.org).

Highlighting the government’s increasing recognition of the banana sub-sector’s contribution to food security and income generation, Hon. Felix Koskei, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development will officially launch the Banana Sector Development Strategy during the conference.

“The government is proud to launch Banana Sector Development Strategy and participate in today’s conference. We look forward to increased incomes and food security for growers from a strengthened banana sub-sector,” says Hon. Koskei.

Delegates will focus on how best to address issues hampering the growth of the banana sub-sector and jointly identify practical solutions that will facilitate a more coordinated banana sub-sector. Specifically, the delegates will evaluate the value chain from production to post harvest management, marketing and value addition through processing.

“AGRA is proud to be associated with the Banana Growers Association of Kenya as it is providing an important platform to making a real difference in the productivity and profitability of smallholder banana growers in Kenya. AGRA will continue working with the BGAK and other stakeholders to improve the banana value chain – from supporting the production and uptake of improved planting materials to promoting better postharvest management practices such as quality grading, storage and collective marketing,” says Jane Karuku, AGRA President.

Through its Farmer Organizations Support Center in Africa (FOSCA) and Market Access Programs, AGRA is supporting 23 produce aggregation centers across Kenya, owned and managed by farmer groups where they come together to learn about the need to start with quality planting materials and good soil fertility, effective postharvest management and collective marketing. These groups have been connected to the mobile money network and this has greatly increased their access to real-time price information and convenience in transacting with buyers. This initiative has seen both the productivity and profitability of banana farmers rise.

“The BGAK aspires to grow from strength to strength as the voice of the banana smallholder farmer in Kenya. This conference is just the beginning in encouraging networking and collaboration among all stakeholders to improve the banana value chain for the growers and various consumers, including processors,” says Thomas Mwangi, Chair, BGAK.

About the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

AGRA (http://www.agra.org) is a dynamic partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural value chain from seeds, soil health and water to markets and agricultural education.

AGRA’s Board of Directors is chaired by Kofi A Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Ms Jane Karuku, former Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General of Telkom Kenya, is AGRA’s president. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development, USAID and other donors, AGRA works across sub-Saharan Africa and maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Accra, Ghana.

For more information, visit  http://www.agra.org

About the Banana Growers Association of Kenya (BGAK)

The Banana Growers Association of Kenya (BGAK) is the apex association of banana farmers in Kenya formed in 2010. It is registered under the Societies Act, Laws of Kenya CAP 108. It is a membership association which serves as a platform for banana farmers to articulate issues affecting them and the banana industry at large while trying to seek timely redress with relevant authorities. BGAK focuses on strengthening the voice of smallholder banana growers in Kenya and has countrywide scope focusing on all the banana growing areas in Kenya.

For more information, visit  http://www.dynamiccreations.org/banana/

SOURCE

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)


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