Kenyan farmers want to cut out the middleman and sell directly to consumers. They could have their wish by July when a “modern” farmers’ market is opened in Nairobi.
The Nairobi Farmers Market, which is under construction in Runda Estate, off Kiambu Road, will contain 45 stalls exclusively operated by farmers.
This borrows from international practice where most cities have farmers markets that supply produce direct from the farms to the consumers. While some provide temporary selling space for different farmers on a day-to-day basis, others lease out permanent shops that are operated by individual farmers who take the space on a long-term basis.
“We are essentially addressing the contradiction where farm-gate prices for cabbages, for example, are less than Ksh10 a piece but the consumer pays Ksh60,” said Munene Mashine, the Project Manager.
In order to safeguard traceability of produce and guarantee of good agricultural practices, all the farmers/shop owners will have to submit to regular inspections and certification, similar to what is required of export produce.
He added, “We are creating a facility that will be a big help for both the farmer and the consumer.”
The proposed market will contain sections for fresh produce, beef, fish and poultry products, dairy produce and a grains section.
Developed by a local investor, United Agromarts Limited, the market developers say they will encourage stall owners to contract and supervise small-scale growers to ensure sufficient supplies within the set quality guidelines while also spreading the benefits of the market to more farmers.
By aggregating produce from the many farmers in the market, they hope to create a secondary outlet for supplying institutional customers such as hotels, restaurants, schools and hospitals.
The Nairobi market will also have a restaurant and a nyama chomaoutlet.
Nairobi Farmers Market will also be driven by an app that will enable online shopping as well as home to home deliveries.