GREENPOT Industry is set to establish a Sh250 million bamboo processing factory at Ndumbini village in Tharaka-Nithi County.
Speaking on Friday during the ceremony, Caroline Kariuki, the company’s chief executive officer, said the production would start in the next six months.
She said the factory, which is the first of its kind in East Africa, is projected to produce 75,000 square metres of bamboo wood products, bamboo curtains, toothpicks and 36,000 tonnes of energy products such as charcoal annually.
She said at least 200 locals will be directly employed at the factory and would also impact over 1,000 families mostly farmers through the extensive value chain.
“Work on this factory has started today and we hope in the next six months it will be complete so that production can start,” said Ms Kariuki.
“This is a sure deal that will promote the living standards of the people of this county and the country at large,” she said.
She asked farmers in the county and in the neighbouring counties to grow the plant in large quantities and assured them that the factory will offer better prices compared to other crops.
Kenya Forest Service chief conservator Emilio Mugo said bamboo products have both local and international and markets.
He said the factory will assist in developing bamboo products that can be easily made by local people in order to expand their economic activities hence curb cutting of trees.
“When this factory is up and running, we expect to see a significant reduction in the pressure to cut down trees for energy use as well as for construction and furniture-making,” said Dr Emilio.
He said KFS will sell to GreenPot 5000 acres of bamboo forest in Mount Kenya forest, something that will solve perpetual challenge of forest fire risks brought about by the accumulation of huge stocks of dead bamboo.
Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki said his government will support the factory and help farmers to grow bamboo.