This project was initiated in response to a call by Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project (KAPP), an initiative of the Government of Kenya and the World Bank which aims to develop ways of transferring agricultural innovations. AfriCenter partnered with the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI), the Kenya Gatsby Trust (KGT), the Highbridge Banana Growers and Marketing Association (HBGMA) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) to implement the project.

The project’s aim was to promote the adoption of appropriate agro–processing technologies and share knowledge on product and market diversification for sustained competitiveness of the banana sub-sector. An initial activity of the project was a baseline survey to assess challenges facing the banana sub-sector in Kenya conducted in 2008. The main focus was on identifying policy framework, production systems, processing/value addition, marketing and consumer trends.

The survey revealed various constraints in production, post-harvest handling and marketing. These included the lack of policies to support banana production and marketing; shortage of information on sources of clean planting materials; poor pest management practices; poor infrastructure; and lack of access to micro-credit.

Challenges in marketing of banana and processed products were also highlighted. Marketing, for example, is hampered by poor storage facilities and roads network, lack of harmonized units of sale and dependency on brokers, and thus possible exploitation. Value-addition of banana products was also found to be too low to be of any value as most bananas are consumed either cooked or ripe.