The Laikipia County assembly has moved to compel the local county government to establish a tomato processing plant in the area to boost farming and improve livelihoods.
The leader of majority at the County Assembly, Peter Thomi who is the Githiga ward MCA tabled a motion in the House on Friday seeking to have the plant established, arguing that agriculture industry is the backbone of the country’s economy.
He sensationally argued that in the year 2013, European Union intended to build plant in Kinamba area in Laikipia West Sub County but it was not known how the project was relocated in another county.
“If you visit Kibwezi area in Makueni County today, you will get a tomato processing plant by the name Githiga tomato processing plant which was initially meant to be built in Githiga ward,” said Thomi.
He noted that in Kenya, tomato plays a critical role in meeting domestic and nutritional food requirement, generate income, earn foreign exchange and creates employment.
The MCA further noted that tomato processing involves the transformation of fresh tomato produce into the products like paste, juice, sauce among others.
Last year, tones of tomatoes were destroyed in various parts of the county owing to a glut, with the produce even being fed to livestock.
The Nominated MCA, Irene Wachuka noted that farmers in the area have resulted to planting tomatoes instead of maize which takes long to mature for harvesting.
“Tomatoes take only three months to mature unlike maize which takes nine months. What our farmers lack is markets. Suppose we have that processing plant, the economy and livelihood of our people would greatly improve,” said Wachuka.
By Martin Munyi