The coconut and cashew nut sub sectors in Kilifi County are set for revival following the proposed construction of three factories to process their products.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said two factories were already being constructed to process cashew nuts, while the foundation stone for the construction of a coconut plant will be laid soon through the World Bank-funded National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP).
The governor said the cashew nut factories were being built in Vipingo and Kakanjuni areas, while the coconut processing plant will be constructed in Mwawesa ward of Rabai constituency.
He said the construction of the three factories would revive the economy of Kilifi County, which had gone down following the collapse of the Kilifi Cashew Nut Factory and lack of a factory for coconut products.
Kingi was speaking at his office during the issuance of cheques amounting to Sh86, 750,000 to fund micro projects to 275 farmer groups in phase two of the NARIGP.
Mr. Kingi urged the residents of Kilifi County to aggressively start the growing of the two cash crops in order to provide raw materials for the factories and thus turn around the economy and livelihoods of the devolved unit.
He urged cashew nut farmers to start pruning their old trees and plant new ones, noting that once the construction of the factories is complete, the demand for cashew nuts will increase.
“A visionary farmer will start preparing themselves by planting cashew nut trees and pruning the old trees in order to improve yields. Prepare yourselves. We have been yearning for a cashew nut factory but we now have two. The ball is now on your court,” said.
The governor said that coconut palm wine generates about Sh438 million annually and said the setting up of the proposed coconut plant would increase the yields since more coconut products will be processed.
“At the moment, Kilifi County gets Sh1.2 million daily from palm wine only without taking into account the other numerous coconut products. With the construction of the coconut factory, coconuts will be the economic mainstay of Kilifi County and the Coast region in general,” he said.
The governor at the same time urged farmers to diversify their food and cash crops in order to survive under the harsh climatic conditions caused by global warming.
The governor noted NARIGP (World Bank-funded project) had focused on the coconut, poultry, dairy and beef sub sectors and that the pilot projects had proved that the county had a great potential for agri-business.
The Kilifi County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development, Dr. Luciana Sanzua, said 714 farmers groups in the county had received Sh261 million under NARIGP.
The project, she said, was aimed at improving productivity in the dairy, poultry, coconut and honey value chains.
Farmers interviewed said they were elated by the project, noting that it had enabled them engage in modern technologies in the four value chains and thanked the county government and the World Bank for funding it.
By Emmanuel Masha