The Nyeri County government will spend Sh9 billion over the next five years to boost agriculture production and convert the county into a food basket.
Part of the money will go towards rolling out flagship agriculture projects and promoting climate-smart farming technologies to help the county accelerate food production for both local and external markets.
As an additional incentive, the county also intends to de-risk the agriculture sector by providing an insurance scheme for crop and livestock farmers.
“My administration will also roll out programmes to enhance agricultural value chains through aggregation, agricultural financing, value addition, and marketing of farm produce to improve income for farmers across the county,” said Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga during the launch of the 2023–2027 Nyeri County Integrated Programme (CIDP).
The five-year development blueprint will focus on agriculture infrastructure, energy, rural and urban development, public administration and governance, and social services.
The Nyeri CIDP has been linked to the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), which seeks to deliver inclusive growth in six key areas in the next five years.
“The development of this CIDP has taken keen interest in the National Government’s Bottom-up Economic Transformative Agenda (BETA) for inclusive growth. This has placed special focus on increased employment, a more equitable distribution of income, social security, and expanding the tax revenue base,” said the governor.
Kahiga noted that the blueprint would be implemented at a cost of Sh103 billion. The money has been split into the five clusters, with agriculture, which is the mainstay of the county, taking the lion’s share.
Apart from the Sh9 billion allocation to the agriculture sector, Sh4 billion will be set aside for the construction of mega dams in Kieni East, Kieni West, Tetu, and Mukurwe-ini sub-counties. This, Kahiga said, will further accelerate food security and attain sustainable water supplies for domestic and agricultural use.
Another Sh7.1 billion will be set aside for upgrading 170km of roads to bitumen standards and graveling 2,000km of roads to increase connectivity within the County.
The governor revealed plans for the construction of a by-pass which will link the newly constructed Asian Quarter bus terminus to King’ong’o at a cost of Sh3 billion.
Other key projects lined up in the development blueprint include the construction of two Level IV hospitals in Tetu and Kieni sub-counties at a cost of Sh1.2 billion.
The county will also set aside Sh1.5 billion for the establishment of an amphitheatre and leisure park to promote performing arts, culture, and tourism.
Kahiga said that the intervention would attract investors and promote industrial development.
Additionally, Sh300 million will be set aside for the construction of talent academies in all eight sub-counties with a view to promoting talent among the youth.
According to the CIDP, the county will set aside Sh1 billion for the construction of 5,000 housing units across the county, which Kahiga said was in line with the BETA agenda on the provision of decent and affordable housing.
On the energy front, the county has set aside Sh1 billion for the installation of 40 megawatts of solar panels at Kiamariga Solar Park, which it hopes to feed into the National Grid and increase its own source of revenue.
The governor said that the CIDP would inform the content of the next five county Annual Development Plans.
He said that the county would be banking on its own source revenue of approximately Sh800 million, a Sh6.4 billion equitable share, and another Sh700 million in the form of loans and grants from development partners to implement the CIDP.
“The Annual Development Plan will be extracted from the CIDP, where we are targeting to implement one component at a time depending on the amount of resources that we have in the budget. I will be putting in place measures to expand a friendly tax base and reduce loopholes that promote tax evasion to maximise optimal own-source revenue potential. Further, the county will forge close collaboration and partnerships with development partners to help the county mobilise adequate resources to fund the projects and programmes,” he stated.
By Wangari Mwangi