Nakuru County government is banking on the construction of new markets and refurbishment to spur the region’s economic growth.
County Executive Committee Member for Trade, Stephen Muiruri said funds have already been allocated towards construction of Naivasha Wholesale market (Sh 600 million), ultra-modern market in Nakuru City (Sh 600 million) and Naivasha fish market (Sh 240 million) among others.
During an inspection tour of Molo market which is undergoing renovation, Mr Muiruri announced that construction of a Sh 600 million three-storey Naivasha Wholesale market that is in progress is 80 percent complete.
He said construction of the Sh 600 million modern market was ongoing at the old fire station in Bondeni, while the second phase involving putting up a Sh 100 million modern bus terminus and parking lot for private vehicles at the site was 50 percent complete.
“We decommissioned the Old Fire Station and its adjoining County slaughterhouse to create space for these public amenities.
The relocation of these social amenities will decongest the CBD and lead to orderly development and expansion of the town,” said Mr Muiruri.
Apart from decongesting the Top Market and the Wakulima Wholesale and fresh produce market, the ultra-modern market is set to boost fortunes of slum dwellers from the adjacent Bondeni slums and spur economic development in the informal settlements.
The five-storey ultra-modern market, being constructed adjacent to the state-of-the-art bus terminus, will house over 4,000 traders.
He noted that the county has spent Sh50 million to revamp its largest markets and oldest markets-the Top Market and the Wakulima Wholesale and fresh produce market. The markets that were established in 1963 and 1984 respectively, host hundreds of traders.
The Wakulima market currently houses about 7,000 stalls, frequented by over 5,000 people daily, making it the busiest market in Nakuru City. Part of the refurbishment included; modernisation of the chicken and fish slaughter houses, renovation of worktops and re-carpeting.
The county government, Mr Muiruri observed, has also given the Wakulima Market a major facelift at a cost of Sh 20 million by restoring its sewerage system, fitting modern roof and toilets among other improvements.
He stated that the County administration had successfully lobbied the National Government to construct a modern Sh 47 million market at London trading center, within Nakuru Town West Sub-County with the aim of boosting horticulture farming in the area.
The market, which is expected to handle at least 60 tonnes of fresh vegetables, will complement the Nakuru Top Market and Wakulima market which are located within the Central Business District a kilometre away.
The CEC said the proposed market will be fitted with sections to cater for textiles, cereals and jua kali sheds, which will serve at least 30,000 residents, 4,500 of them being farmers from surrounding areas.
The market which will be the largest in the Sub County will also serve as a wholesale source for bananas, mangoes, avocadoes, potatoes, passion fruits, water melons, sukuma wiki and cabbages which are produced in neighbouring Sub-Counties.
He said the devolved unit was constructing similar markets in other Sub-Counties to boost earnings of rural populations by minimising exploitation by brokers.
Mr Muiruri observed that the new Sh10 million market at Subukia trading center was already operational.
The market, which handles on average 40 tonnes of fresh vegetables, will complement the Kabazi Market eight kilometres away.
The market is about 22km from Nyahururu Town in Laikipia County, which is a major source of farm produce that is consumed in Subukia Sub-County. Subukia market started operation after more than a decade of wrangles, which had stalled the project.
The developments are meant to spruce up the face of Nakuru and make it a world-class city, said City Manager Gitau Thabanja.
“We have embarked on construction works to improve the drainage, revamp the road infrastructure, introduce pedestrian walkways, streamline garbage disposal, address the housing challenge, street lighting, traffic jams, introduce eco-friendly amenities among other things key to city status,” Mr Thabanja said.
The elevation of Nakuru to a city, he noted, means residents must get better services through improvement in the planning of the town, streamlined garbage disposal, addressing the housing challenge, street lighting, roads and infrastructure, and traffic jams, among other things.
According to the CEC, the projects are part of a wider plan to increase business opportunities, to spur the region’s economy and create employment opportunities to dozens of people from the informal settlement areas.
The Nakuru County government is also banking on the fish market to be constructed at Karai area in Naivasha to end the ‘unhealthy’ fish hawking along the busy Nairobi-Nakuru highway as well as revolutionize fish business in the region.
The modern multi-purpose market is being constructed under a partnership between the Nakuru County government and two development partners-the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and The Rockefeller Foundation through its Food Initiative Programme in the country.
The first phase will be built at a cost of Sh 80 million, with the county contributing at least Sh10 million with partners giving Sh70 million.
“The project will alter the economic landscape of this area and provide jobs to hundreds of locals who depend on fish farming in the region. It will be a game changer for the youths who have been selling fish by the roadside. They are exposed to dangers of fast moving vehicles and the fish is exposed to irregular temperatures and contamination,” said Mr Muiruri.
Renovations are also ongoing at the Molo, Subukia, Gilgil, Kabazi and Naivasha retail markets. The county also seems to build new markets in Kuresoi, Njoro sub-counties.
By Anne Mwale