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Mt Elgon to host Sh500 million tea factory

The national government in partnership with the county government of Bungoma is set to put up a multimillion tea factory in Mt. Elgon Sub County of Bungoma County.

The factory that is set to cost approximately Sh. 500 million will be hosted in the Kaberwa area.

Speaking during a reconnaissance visit in Kaberwa and Kopsiro areas, Agriculture And Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said this will be factored in the coming supplementary budget.

Linturi said despite the fact the current government had found an almost empty Treasury, the president was committed to ensuring that the factory is set up.

“I am here on the directive of the president and I want to assure you that we will ensure the construction of a modern tea factory is factored in the coming budget,” said Linturi.

Linturi however directed the Kenya Tea development agency (KTDA) to immediately partner with the county government in ensuring that the farmers interested in the venture get tea seedlings in preparation for the Factory.

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka committed that the county government will ensure availability of tea seedlings to the farmers.

“This is something I had started during my first tenure as governor so it will just be starting our vision where we left” Said Lusaka.

The governor emphasized that the region had a conducive climate to grow tea calling on residents to take advantage of the same.

“God has blessed us with good weather. We should take advantage of the goodwill we have with the current government by venturing in tea farming,” said Lusaka.

The governor lamented that currently farmers were going at losses as they transported their tea to the neighbouring Trans Nzoia County.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula said once the factory is set up it will have opened ways for more factories in the region.

“Let’s not argue about the exact location but instead let’s take this first initiative which will open ways for more of such in the region.

He further encouraged farmers across the county to adopt tea farming as it was not a preserve for Mt. Elgon residents.

Wetangula said any factory needed raw materials hence the need for farmers to have more tea plantations.

According to the chairman KTDA Daniel Icholo noted that last year the government got approximately Sh.63 billion from tea exports.

Icholo urged farmers to venture into tea farming since it was profitable and the area has the best climate to cultivate tea.

He further said that the organization will put up a tea seedling nursery to ensure that farmers can get the seedlings easily from Nyayo tea zone based in the area.

Icholo noted that while putting up the tea nursery they will employ the youth from the area as a way of creating employment.

Linturi urged residents to also engage in other mixed farming like dairy farming to curb hunger that is affecting the country currently.

Accompanying the Cabinet Secretary included Deputy County Commissioner Mt Elgon Sub County Benjamin Nzioka, Webuye East MP Dan Wanyama.

By Douglas Mudambo

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