Farmers decry pineapple theft

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023 03:30 | By
Farmers decry pineapple theft

INCOME:  Farmers have decried increasing cases of pineapple theft in parts of the country, saying the vice has left them with no markets to sell the fruits.

Growers in various parts of Gatundu North and South in Kiambu said most of the pineapples have been left to rot in the farms as buyers, including brokers, have stopped buying from them owing to dumping.

They said stolen pineapples from some of the large-scale producers are sold at throw-away prices in Machakos and Kiambu counties where they have been selling them, leaving them to struggle to find alternative markets.

Led by Mwala Mara, the farmers lamented the prices of their products have sharply declined, to their disadvantage, at times forcing them to sell them below the cost of production.

“The people who used to buy from us have stopped. The market is flooded with stolen pineapples which are giving us unfair competition. We are now selling locally at very low prices but most of the fruits end up rotting on the farm,” he said.

Better markets

James Kavaiku, another farmer regretted that brokers who have been buying from them are leaving the business after they also failed to get better markets for the produce.

For one pineapple fruit, the farmers revealed they used to sell at Sh50, a price that has since drastically reduced. The farmers urged the government through the ministries of Trade and Agriculture to help farmers find better local and foreign markets for their produce.

“We are not making any profits anymore. Our fruits are rotting on the farm and this unfair competition brought about by thieves is killing our business. It’s high time the government helped us get a solution to this,” said Kavaiku.

Most farmers in the two constituencies ventured into the then-lucrative pineapple farming after their hitherto tea business was infiltrated by cartels who mismanaged the sector forcing them to make poor returns.

The pineapple business, they say, is no longer tenable as their returns have drastically reduced.

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