County lures investors with farm guarantees

Sunday March 6 2016

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba (center) commissions the use of an agricultural machine at a function in Kitale on February 17, 2016. The county provides over 30 per cent of Kenya’s maize but has no major milling plant. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba (center) commissions the use of an agricultural machine at a function in Kitale on February 17, 2016. The county provides over 30 per cent of Kenya’s maize but has no major milling plant. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EDWIN OKOTH
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Trans Nzoia County will guarantee farmers contracted to produce various food crops to cushion investors willing to take up agribusiness opportunities in the upcoming investment forum.

County Governor Patrick Khaemba said the region will make the move to ensure growers meet investors’ expectations.

“This type of farming is the only way farmers will be able to diversify from the traditional crops whose yields have been dwindling and be able to meet their contractual obligations under this arrangement. We have huge potential in bananas, avocado, chillies, flowers and a range of horticultural crops, which can do well in the county,” Mr Khaemba said.

Under the arrangement expected to kick off after the March 16th to 18th conference, farmers will sign a memorandum of understanding with an interested investor who will be given land to construct a value addition plant in the county, thus creating more jobs.

The county, known to be the country’s food basket, provides over 30 per cent of Kenya’s maize but has no major milling plant and this is where the forum hopes to get an investor.

The factory will be used to make animal feeds, which the governor said, will find ready market in the neighbouring counties and Uganda.

BRIGHT IDEA
Over 300 exhibitors are expected at the investment forum with undisclosed international investors eyeing renewable energy said to have expressed interest.

The county hopes to attract several exhibitors, with over 200 having confirmed participation.

Several other counties have held their version of the event in conjunction with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the government’s investment arm.

Kisii and Homa Bay are the latest to hold such a meet as the devolved units seek to independently seek economic roadmaps.

Chamber Chairman Kiprono Kittony said the move to attract investors is opening up regions previously overlooked by investors.