Efforts to make Kenya a key exporter of quality and cost friendly products have been enhanced with Nyandarua County signing a pact that would see its residents export fresh produce directly.
The County government and the Export Promotion Council (EPC) at the weekend signed a pact that would see the state owned council enlighten residents of export oriented products, while assisting the potatoes and milk rich County seek markets in the Republic of Congo and Angola, among other countries.
Speaking during the signing of the memorandum, EPC Chairman Jas Bedi said Counties were better placed to help Kenya zero in on the imbalance that existed between imports and exports.
He regretted that the country’s exports had declined from 11 to 9 percent, and challenged Counties to form industrial parks, concentrate on specific value chains and ease the cost of doing business while improving on infrastructure.
“We need to add value to our produce and reclaim the markets that we are slowly losing in Uganda and Tanzania. This will in turn create jobs and reduce Rural-Urban migration that has jammed our cities,” Bedi said.
Nyandarua residents, he said, would be enabled to add value to milk and potatoes, while ensuring that the products get rich and vibrant market in Africa and beyond.
“Why are farmers exporting raw materials to factories in Nairobi? We can have the factories here and even utilize the waste products in making manure. This is the only way we can have families gain more from what they are producing,” noted Bedi.
He urged the residents not to ignore a ready duty free market in 16 African countries including East Africa saying there was need to also have Ethiopia agree to the Free Trade Area pact as it had a rich market.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who led a delegation in consenting to the memorandum, said the county would focus on improving road networks to the interiors, while improving the standards of its markets.
“We will organize small farmers into cooperatives to enable them have competitive advantage as EPC helps us with searching markets for our produce,” he said.
He regretted that efforts to create the county’s cash cow were scattered in many projects noting “We can produce more if we focus our efforts on a few viable ventures instead of scattering our resources only to have projects stall.”
Kimemia, who also chairs the Central regions’ association of governors, urged other governors to pool their resources ranging from milk, potatoes, sugar beets and snow peas to create an economic hub that would benefit from quality and quantity for excellent bargaining power when approaching the international market.