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Lord Egerton Agro-Industrial Park to be launched in August

Nakuru County Government has officially announced that the Lord Egerton Agro-industrial Park, which will host a variety of industries, including agro processors, ICT hubs, energy-sector companies, engineering and construction firms, and chemical industries, will start operations in August this year.

Trade, Culture, and Tourism County Executive Committee Member (CECM) Mr. Stephen Kuria said preparations are complete to operationalize the facility with the County Aggregation Industrial Park (CAIP) and Export Processing Zone (EPZ), which have been allocated 100 acres each at the University’s Ngongongeri farm in Njoro and are expected to be unveiled at a ceremony that will be officiated by President Dr. William Ruto.

When disclosing that the County Government had approved a policy document to establish and implement County Aggregation Industrial Parks (CAIPS) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the CECM said the CAIPS and SEZs will help grow industrialization and middle income to provide quality of life to all residents by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.

Speaking after inspecting the proposed Lord Egerton Agro-industrial Park site ahead of the President’s visit, Kuria stated that Governor Susan Kihika’s administration was collaborating with the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry (MITI) to start CAIPS in line with the bottom-up economic transformation agenda.

Kuria said the agro-industrial park, besides expanding the devolved unit’s opportunities as an industrial and economic hub, will create employment opportunities, improve the livelihoods in agriculture-dependent regions, reduce post-harvest losses, contribute to food security, and accelerate economic growth in the country.

The CECM revealed that the devolved unit was envisioning CAIPS and SEZs that will host light industries such as warehousing and logistics and supporting industries, medium and heavy industries such as manufacturers of fertilisers, iron and steel, plastics and packaging, and fabricated metal products.

The State Department for Industry Principal Secretary, Mr. Juma Mukhwana, said the national government has set aside Sh4.7 billion for the construction of CAIPS in all the counties to promote the manufacturing sector.

Each county, he added, was expected to contribute Sh250 million and provide a minimum of 100 acres of land for the establishment of the Parks towards the implementation of the project in the next financial year.

This will be used to fund the provision of electricity, water, effluent management, internet, security, and common transport. There will also be an online portal through which traders will find markets for their products, both locally and abroad.

“Once the parks are constructed, Equity Bank has promised to provide Sh250 billion to support the purchase of manufacturing equipment for industries willing to invest in the parks. This was after the government struck a deal with the lender,” Mukhwana said.

The PS said the government will also establish a Sh6 million fund to provide start-up capital to small-scale traders and youth under a programme dubbed “Viwanda Mashinani”.

Already, Sh100 million has been disbursed to Nakuru County for the construction of basic infrastructure. Other counties identified for the first phase of the project include Busia, Murang’a, Kakamega, and Kirinyaga.

Egerton University and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries are jointly building the facility on 200 acres at the University’s Ngongongeri farm in Njoro. The Industrial Park is also intended to attract private investors to establish food processing plants that will add value to agricultural produce.

The architects of the plan estimate that more than 4,000 employment opportunities will be created with the transformation in agriculture in the counties involved. The development of the support infrastructure, such as power, water, and the park ring road, has been put into the spatial plan.

Also present during the function were Agriculture, Livestock, fishing, and cooperatives. CECM Mr. Leonard Bor, CECM in charge of Lands, Housing, and Physical Planning Mr. John Kihagi, and County Executive in charge of Water, Environment, Climate Change, Energy, and Natural Resources Dr. Nelson Maara,

By Esther Mwangi and Sam Karanja

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