Nyandarua County farmers will in 90 days enjoy the services of a Shs.100 million Potatoes Cold storage facility funded by the national government.
The 100,000 metric tonnes storage facility in Ol Kalau will save the farmers from middlemen and post-harvest losses, as it will have the capacity to store the potatoes for at least six months before processing.
The Chief Administrative Secretary for Industrialization and Trade (CAS), Lawrence Karanja noted that the project promised to the residents by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his recent visit to the region, was twofold as it consisted of the cold store as well as a processing plant that the county had planned to put up, adjacent to it.
Karanja, while urging Governor Francis Kimemia and the County Commissioner (CC), Boaz Cherutich to ensure the construction was up to standard, cautioned the contractor against delaying the project, saying all the funds allocated for the project were available.
“The project will serve to meet the food security and manufacturing agendas. The factory has the capacity to supply the county funded factory for three months without a single potato being supplied.
Three other factories in Shamata, Wanjohi and Engineer have also been earmarked and their construction planned while Kinangop and Mirangine Sub Counties have been proposed for similar cold storage facility.
He spoke in Ol Kalau on Tuesday when he led the county leaders in handing over the proposed site to the contractor, Jomaki Enterprises Limited, who promised to deliver in the three months.
Governor Kimemia while acknowledging the joint venture that would eventually cost over Shs.1billion on a 50/50 basis between the national and county government, said the projects support value addition and boost the sector that boast of production of 550, 000 metric tonnes of potatoes annually.
“The farmers will receive receipts that will be used, under the commodity exchange programme, to access credit for expansion of their farming businesses.
“The farmers are free to sell their stored produce to the county government or pay a small premium for the storage to sell elsewhere, offloading them of up to 40 percent in post-harvest loss, occasioned by bad weather and saturated markets,” added Kimemia.
The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority CEO, Henry Ridhaa urged the farmers to double their efforts as the store and the factories will need enough raw material to keep running.
Ridhaa assured the farmers of Micro and Small Enterprises Development Fund credit facility that the farmers will use to access farm inputs.
By Anne Sabuni