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Makueni grain factory to benefit growers

Grain Farmers in Makueni County will now reap profits from the newly commissioned Makueni Integrated Grain Value Addition Plant at Makindu.

The Sh210 million factory will cushion the farmers against post-harvest losses by providing enough storage, quality value addition and make agriculture a profitable venture.

Speaking while commissioning the factory, outgoing Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana said the plant will clean, sort, polish, grade and package beans, pigeon peas, cowpeas and  green grams for both domestic and export markets.

“As our mandate to serve as governor for the great county of Makueni comes to close, I’m proud to have commissioned the Makueni Integrated Grain Value Addition Plant at Makindu,” said Kibwana.

He said the plant will buy grains from farmers through organised cooperatives, process them and sell the products to local and international markets adding that it will prevent the farmers from unscrupulous brokers.

“We are also in conversation with private sector, Kitui, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties which produce a lot of pulses to utilise the plant with a fee hence the county will have an extra revenue stream,” noted Kibwana.

The first Governor added that the modern grain processing facility in Kenya will in future be able to split, de-hull, mill and blend various flour products from high value crops.

The grain factory which was initiated in 2019 was funded by the World Bank through the Kenya support for Devolution Programme and implemented by the Makueni County Government. It has 15 workers and expecting to employ more personnel.

The factory has storage area of 200 metric tonnes (3,300 bags of 90 kgs) of raw materials and 170 metric tonnes (2000 bags of 90 Kgs) finished product storage area.

It also has a production capacity of 2 metric tonnes per hour that translates to 32 metric tonnes per day and night shift and they are packaging the pulses in 50 kgs- 100 kgs bags, and soon will start packaging for 1kg and 2kgs for supermarkets and wholesale outlets.

Kibwana noted that the factory will spur rapid economic development in the area because of its proximity to other amenities including Showground, Fire station and National Government Technical Training Institute.

“The residents of this area will benefit from job opportunities and business from this value addition hub. The factory sits on an area which has Showground, Fire station and National Government Technical Training Institute,” he added.

According to data from the County department of Agriculture, over 230,000 hectares are put under pulse production every year with an average of 190,000 metric tonnes.

By Ronald Rono

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