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Work at livestock processing zone gathers pace after long pause

Construction works of the Sh380 million Bachuma Livestock Export Processing Zone in Taita Taveta county has picked up pace after years of inordinate delays.

Construction began at the site along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway near Maungu Township in 2015 but has been beset by slow progress of work.

Works include animal sheds, road works, renovations to existing houses, laboratory, borehole and quarantine fencing.

The project once completed would facilitate access of livestock and livestock products to local, regional and international markets.

Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elung’ata who was on a supervision tour of the facility on Sunday said he was not satisfied with the projects progress since its inception.

“We have come here on a fact finding mission since this project is moving at a slow pace and taking ages to finish,” said Elung’ata who was accompanied by Taita Taveta County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha.

Elung’ata who is the chairman of the Coast Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee (RDICC) expressed regrets that a project that seek to improve rural livelihoods and food security was taking long to come to fruition.

He said the government was awake to the fact that the livestock sub sector is an important source of economic growth and job creation to foster poverty reduction.

“Once this project is operational, it is hoped to enhance livestock marketing and livestock products value chain,” he said.

He went on, “it will also enhance disease prevention and control through the veterinary quarantine stations.”

On his part, the Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Hesbon Awando said the project is now progressing well and is in final stage of implementation.

“This project which has been identified as a disease free zone as a way of beating the stringent conditions set by international markets against export of livestock products has now reached 60 percent completion,” he said.

He said the livestock export processing zone is scheduled to be ready for use by May 2020 to boost livestock exports to lucrative foreign markets and thus boost revenues from exportation of livestock products.

“We are so far satisfied with the progress of work which has almost reached 60 percent completion,” he told the inspection team.

Dr. Awando said the zone which can accommodate 100,000 head of cattle will boost livestock exports by helping Kenya meet strict health and safety standards of international markets.

He said the zone will have a holding area of 15,000 acres where livestock will be quarantined for 60 days to certify them as disease free before being transported to the port of Mombasa.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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