By TIMOTHY MBAYA
The construction of the multi-million potato processing plant at Getong’anya in Kura West is on going and the locals are optimistic about the plant.
The plant is a collaboration between the European Union and the Migori County government where they contributed Sh110 million and Sh7.07 million respectively.
Speaking during the inspection of the ongoing works at the plant, head of macro-economics and Governance of the European Union delegation to the Republic of Kenya, Vincent De Boer said the project was part of others in 15 Counties and sponsored by the EU.
De Boer said the plant will improve the livelihoods of the locals by enabling them access direct market for their potatoes at better prices.
“At the same time as the economic activity increases, it also provides the basis to levy taxes so that the County Government gets more resources to attend to other needs of its citizens,” said De Boer.
The head of the macro-economics and governance delegation said he was happy with the progress at the construction site and assured the County and National governments of the EU’s support to the success of the factory.
“I see their is a serious team here in Migori, hakuna mchezo, and I look forward to coming back,” said De Boer.
He said the EU had also launched AgriFI, a challenge fund to support small holder farmers to practice environmentally sustainable agriculture as a business.
Migori Governor Okoth Obado said his government was also supporting
several crops and other livestock production services to improve the
livelihoods of the locals.
In a speech read by Agriculture County Executive Committee Member Valentine Ogongo, Obado said he County Government distributed 32,000 tissue culture bananas to boost food security.
Ogong said the plant will process about 20 tonnes per day upon completion in April next year.
“For this to be achieved farmers need to work harder so that production will be all year round,” said Ogongo.
But the Agriculture CEC said many programs had been linked to the
sweet potato value chain to reap maximum benefits to the farmers.
Area Member of County Assembly Abeddy Maroa urged the local farmers to plant more potatoes so that the factory will not be underutilized because of low supply.
Upon completion, the plant will employ 300 people directly and another 5000 indirectly.
Potato prices will also increase from the current Sh8 per Kilogram up to between Sh15 to Sh20 per Kilogram.
The event was also graced by Migori County Assembly speaker Boaz Okoth, CEC members, Rebecca Ghati (Water), Scolastica Obiero (Finance), Samson Ngariba (Education), Chief Officers and Directors from various county department.