The construction of an elevated modern footbridge at Kalolenyi area in Voi sub-county is set to enhance market accessibility and other agribusiness opportunities for hundreds of farmers at Msambweni Ole village and the surrounding regions.
For decades, the villages of Majengo, Kasarani, Mwingoni and Ole have existed as isolated islands owing to lack of a bridge over the Voi River that cuts across the villages. Farmers at Ole village used detours to get access to the market in Voi town.
With the completion of the bridge, the missing link among the villages has been found.
“We hope this bridge will ease your movements and encourage more people to get into farming as a way of improving livelihoods,” said Governor Granton Samboja while opening the bridge on Friday morning.
The governor noted that the area had vast agricultural potential that had remained largely untapped due to challenges of roads and lack of a bridge to ensure farmers had access to markets. He also promised to dredge two boreholes in the area to encourage diversified farming in the region.
The bridge was constructed at a cost of Sh. 2.7 million and will also serve residents of SGR estate and Kaloleni village.
There are also plans to construct a main road through the farms at Msambweni Ole area to make the area navigable by vehicles and motorbikes. Officials of Kenya Roads Board said the road has been mapped and would further open up the roads into the villages to give room for more access.
Ms. Sicily Ngama, a tomato farmer at Ole village, said doing any activity at the area has always been a nightmare as farmers were forced to navigate across the perilous Voi River especially when flooded.
In most times, farmers were unable to cross the river to access their farms for days until the waters subsided.
“When the river floods, it is impossible to cross for lack of a bridge. We also spend a lot while taking our produce to the market because we have to go long way. Now, we just cross over and walk to the town,” she said.
Ole village is considered a bread basket for thousands of people in Voi town. With Voi River meandering its way to the national park, most farmers use generators to irrigate their farms. The area is famous for producing bananas, cabbages, tomatoes, onions and brinjals.
The residents also expressed optimism that the cases of mugging that were reported at the traditional crossing will no longer be reported.
By Wagema Mwangi