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Waiguru enumerates key achievements in County address, signs tomato factory deal

Kirinyaga County Governor, Anne Waiguru has enumerated a wide range of achievements made by her administration in developing the county and uplifting lives of the people, key among them being signing of a deal with an investor to establish a tomato processing factory.

While delivering the State-of-the-county address at the Kirinyaga County Assembly on Thursday, Waiguru said her “Mountain Cities Blueprint” dream was becoming a reality and that the county had grown in all spheres.

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She cited the establishment of the Sagana Industrial Park, opening of the Kerugoya Level Five Hospital, construction and equipping of 20 dispensaries, laying of over 50 square meters of cabro in all major town, construction of a fire station, supplying residents with domestic and irrigation water through 70 water projects. Others include; grading and murraming of 1000 kilometers of road, construction of 21 markets, ongoing tilting of land in 11 colonial villages to provide security of tenure to residents as some of her achievement in the last one year.

“Once fully operationalized, these factories at the Sagana Industrial Park have the potential of employing directly 4,000 youth with a ripple effect of up to 10,000 employment opportunities,” Waiguru said.

She said that the support that her administration has been giving to farmers through Wezesha Kirinyaga Program has seen steady increase in production of various value chains such as tomatoes, rice, coffee, avocado and dairy.

The Governor said that the upcoming processing industries at Sagana Industrial Park will provide the much-needed market and bring in better earnings for farming community.

“Our tomato production has continued to rise steadily from an annual production of 46,000 metric tons in 2017 to 116,000 metric tons in 2022 earning our farmers approx. Ksh 6.9 billion annually. This has been achieved through the well-thought-out plan to support farmers’ capacity in production areas such as seedlings propagation, switching high-yielding tomato seedlings which are also disease tolerant, and investing in modern technologies such as greenhouse production, and drip irrigation among other water-saving technologies.” Said the governor.

On Thursday, the Governor led the county in signing a deal with an investor who will put up a tomato factory at the upcoming Sagana Industrial Park.

The investor, who is coming under the Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) program, will commence the process of setting up the factory immediately.

Waiguru said the factory will address the issue of post-harvest loses, the biggest challenge faced by tomato farmers who have been losing up to 40pc of their harvest. She said that since the factory will uptake 100pc of their produce, farmers will now have better returns.

She added that construction of the County seedling propagation unit located within Kangai ward, is expected to be completed by the end of this financial year to support farmers in accessing affordable and quality seedlings in their backyard.

Waiguru said that through Wezesha Kirinyaga program, the county is strategically positioning the county farmers as the number one suppliers of raw materials for upcoming processing industries in the Sagna Industrial City. She said that more than 50,000 households have been supported by the program so far.

She said that Wezesha program is Kirinyaga’s version of the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). “Through the program, we are empowering small-scale farmers to produce more and increase their earnings from agriculture thus improving their standards of living. Through diversified agricultural activities, a farmer can at least earn up to Ksh. 1,000 per day”. Said the governor, adding that the said that the county government has so far disbursed Ksh. 380.2 million to support farmers groups and farmers cooperatives.

Apart from the tomato factory, Waiguru said that the county is in the process of formalizing agreements with other investors who will put up multi-billion milk and meat processing factory as well as coffee warehousing, at the Industrial City.

She said that out of 34 investors who had expressed interest in various investment opportunities within the Industrial City 14 investors have been successfully evaluated in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) out of whom seven are in assorted industries, one four-star hotel and spa and six in County Aggregation and Industrial City (CAIP).

Three investors have been evaluated for Export Process Zone.

She confirmed that her county is one among the five that will benefit from Ksh. One billion from the National Government for the development of an Export Processing Zone.

Waiguru said that through agricultural extension workers, the county government has been training farmers on high standards of production, that will meet the requirements of the export markets.

She noted that once fully operationalized, the factories will create about 4,000 jobs with a ripple effect of up to 10,000 employment opportunities.

To further support Export Processing Zone and the County Aggregation and Industrial Parks the county has constructed 15 fresh produce aggregation centres for farmers with another three in the process of being constructed.

In Education sector, apart from constructing 28 and renovating 43 Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) classes, Waiguru said her administration is constructing an additional 10 classrooms and renovating five others in various wards.

The governor said a modern fire station at Kutus is also nearing completion, to further improve the county’s capacity in responding to fire emergencies and secure properties of the residents.

She said that so as to eliminate fraud and grabbing of public land the county has also established a Geographical Information System (GIS) lab for digitizing all the land records.

“This will help to streamline operations and improve service delivery in our lands department,” the Governor said.

 

 

 

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