The Government has constructed a Sh. 7 million solar powered rice and maize mill at Kimbimbi market, Kirinyaga County on a pilot scheme to empower women.
The pilot facility with a milling capacity of 330 kilograms of rice per hour will be run and managed by women to be picked from Nyangati and Gathigiriri wards of Mwea East Sub-County where the facility is located.
The Interior Principal Secretary (PS), Karanja Kibicho speaking at Kimbimbi market on Thursday said the project was the only one of its kind in the country and has been built by Chinese engineers.
He said if the project succeeds, it will be replicated in other parts of the country to economically empower more women. “This project is a gift from President Uhuru Kenyatta for women in Mwea,” the PS added.
He asked area MP, Kabinga Wachira who was present to oversee the appointment of two women from the concerned wards in the management of the mill.
Kibicho said the proceeds which will be accrued from the milling costs of both maize and rice grains should be properly secured by the management committee that will be put in place and later shared by members.
“We expect huge profits to be realized from this project which unlike others uses solar energy which the beneficiaries will not be paying for,” he said.
The PS said the project was just one of the many other measures the government was putting in place to empower women.
At the same time, a solar powered bread bakery at the populous Karoti Girls High School within the same area is to be set up.
This was after the School Principal, Ladiah Mwangi requested Kibicho to consider funding the project given the 1000 plus students at the institution.
“We spend so much money to buy loafs of bread to feed the high student population and if we could be provided with a solar powered mini bakery by the government we could be even start lowering the school fees and reduce the financial burden to our parents,” Ms Mwangi said.
Kibicho was in the area to open the mill besides touring other development projects in the area.
By Irungu Mwangi