On July 8, the IFA Central Team returned to Kerugoya in Kirinyaga County to show the film ‘ Bridging the Gap https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfRIf2Km2Pc&t=1s’.
The film was about a women group in Murang’a County, who had invested in a simple community-owned banana value addition plant where banana jam, crisps, porridge flour and ugali flour are processed.
This impressed the Bethsaida Women Group in Kerugoya, who felt inspired by their peers in Murang’a County. They felt challenged.
The women said they want their banana farming improved.
They wanted value addition to their produce, with each family having at least 50 banana trees.
Banana farming, they said, is their mainstay, since their husbands were so much into coffee and horticultural farming.
With the help of IFA, the Bethsaida Women Group said it will put pressure on the Kirinyaga county government to get a share of the value addition kitty for them to put up a banana drying place.
The group said as women, they needed to get some additional income generating activity that will empower them financially and socially.
Time has come, they said, to also put pressure on the political leadership to honour the pledges they had made to them during the election campaigns.
Some of the MCAs, like Njukiini ward’s Fredreick Bundi, who is now the Kirinaga County Assembly trade committee chair, had pledged to help the women push for a value addition plant.
A Community Action Team of women was formed and, through their own initiative, decided to push for value addition of farm produce as was highlighted during the debate.
They organized themselves and contributed money to train on banana value addition.
IFA helped them identify a trainer from the Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Society.
The women, through the CAT, will be doing advocacy so that the county assembly legislate on value addition of farm produce, which women spend more than 90 percent of their time and energy working on.
They women will also push for gender sensitive legislation to make women easily access funds that can help them engage in income generating ventures.
The women said this way; the girl child will benefit and reduce dependency on third parties like their fathers and brothers, for sanitary towels.
Four countries, including Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, support the banana value addition venture.
From the banana fruit, the women learned, other products that can come out of the banana tree include nutritious flour for porridge/ugali and chapati when fortified, crisps, jam, among others.
They also learned that bananas could be dried and kept for over a year for food security.
Story By IFA Central Team