To make agriculture an economic giant, let’s have structured value chains

Traders sell tomatoes at the Muthurwa market in Nairobi. In a structured producer system, the farmer grows what the market requires, delivers the harvest to a market and is paid within an agreed period.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Why would a trader opt to make fake tomato sauce when tomatoes are in season? Both scenarios smack of farmer exploitation, the bitter reality in the ugly face of the disconnect between production and marketing in the country’s entire fresh produce value chain.
  • The Nakuru-based fake tomato sauce trader was arrested and charged, eliciting debate as to whether we shouldn’t go beyond the criminal element and tap into his creativity, learn a few valuable lessons about the need for a more supportive environment for cottage industries. 
  • In a structured producer system, the farmer grows what the market requires, delivers the harvest to a market and is paid within an agreed period. This way he is able to plan his production cycle within an agribusiness setup.

Two incidents in the past two weeks have generated substantial debate on value addition. 

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