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Ranches urged to align their plans with govt’s Big 4 agenda

Ranchers in Taita-Taveta County have been urged to align their strategic plans with the national government’s Big 4 Agenda as a way of attracting investments and funding by the state.

Mr. David Tayo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africa Social Financing Center noted that funding for government projects was guided by priorities. This implied that private sector players needed to align their strategic plans with the policies and priorities of the government to reap the benefits of state expenditure.

Mr. Tayo was speaking at Taita-Taveta University during the 2nd Annual Economic Empowerment summit dubbed as Biashara kwa Wote.

“Government funding is guided by priorities. You need to customize and design your strategic plans to align with the government’s Big 4 Agenda to reap maximum benefit in terms of funding,” he said.

The summit was attended by officials of Taita-Taveta Wildlife Conservancies Association (TTWCA), several directors of ranches, officials of the small-scale mining associations and county government officials.

Wallace Mwaluma, County Director of Youth, giving his speech during the economic summit at the varsity. Photos by Wagema Mwangi

ASFC has been supporting over 50 local groups in the county including artisanal miners, persons living with disability and women’s investment groups.

Mr. Tayo disclosed that current government spending was guided by multi-billion investment in four Big 4 Agenda in health, manufacturing, housing and food security sectors. He said that with ranches being custodians of over one million acres of land, such a strategic asset could be revolutionary in terms of economic growth.

He added that while the government had expressed interest in establishing an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at a 300-acre piece of land at Ndii in Voi, ranches had the ability to allocate 100,000 acres for setting up a special economic and manufacturing zone.

“With such a move, the ranches can become a key manufacturing pillar and be home to the largest industrial park in Africa. This will come with billions of shillings in investment from government and development partners. These are opportunities you might need to exploit,” he said.

He added that with the world currently engaged in discussions of climate change, conservation and innovation in clean energy, the ranches were poised for a take-off if they embraced joint investments with international players in conservation. He added that such partnerships will empower ranches to diversify their revenue streams.

“Conservation and debates on climate change are dominating conservations around the globe. With the vast land and forests, ranches will be at the center of this discussion,” he said.

Dr. Kambale Maghanga, a don at Taita-Taveta University, disclosed that the institution was establishing a business incubation center to support ranchers and other local players to develop business ideas into rewarding ventures.

He stated the center would, amongst other roles, formulate and execute viable ideas, explore linkages and establish markets for goods and services produced by local partners.

“The varsity will come in to fill in the gaps through concretizing the ideas and giving them a supportive framework. This center will be utilized to assist stakeholders in mining, ranches and farming,” said the don.

Mr. Tayo hailed the move by varsity to support the ranchers terming it as timely. He noted that such partnerships would spur development and build confidence with both local and international investors.

Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) is set to start operation in Taita-Taveta County after finalizing the land registration process.

County Chief Officer for Lands Leonard Lagat said the process for demarcating land was being finalized and a title deed would be issued to the authority to start operations.

“We are planning to have the title deed ready and issue EPZA with it to allow them to operationalize the export processing zone,” he said.

The government has also disclosed plans to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the border town of Taveta to facilitate speedy processing of imports and exports.

By Wagema Mwangi

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