Embu County has embarked on building a Sh300 million milk processing factory as it seeks to spur economic growth and create employment for jobless youth in the region.
The project aims at adding value to milk from dairy farmers in the county by packaging it in order to fetch high prices.
This mega factory, a flagship project of Governor Martin Wambora, is being built at Ugweri village where dairy farming is one of the major economic activities.
Speaking Thursday at the Kenya School of Government in Embu town, the governor announced that the state-of-the-art project will be strictly monitored by his officers to ensure that it is built in accordance with the set specifications.
"This will be one of the biggest projects in the region and must be well built in order to benefit the dairy farmers," he told senior national and county officials during the meeting convened to discuss development and security matters of the area.
He explained that the project, once completed, will produce fresh packed milk, yoghurt and cream, among others, to cater for the ever increasing demand of the products in the market.
"Through the sale of milk products we shall generate a lot of revenue which will be used to grow the economy of the county. The factory will also offer jobs to our youth who are well educated but staying idle at home," he posed.
The project will also protect the dairy farmers from exploitation by middlemen who have invaded the region.
"Brokers have been buying milk at throw away prices making it hard for farmers to break even. Once the project is completed the farmers will be selling their milk directly and they will earn high prices which will increase their income," Mr Wambora added.
He said that farmers are hardworking and that his administration has the responsibility to protect them from any form of exploitation.
The factory which is being put up on a three-and-half-acre piece of land will have the capacity to process 30,000 litres of milk daily.
Mr Wambora said the factory will provide great opportunities for farmers who have been earning peanuts from their milk due to prevailing poor prices.
GOOD MILK PRICES
"We shall offer high prices for farmers' products and they should get ready for a brighter future,” he added.
He urged the farmers to increase milk production to maintain a steady supply once the factory is fully operational.
At the same time, the governor expressed concern over the high number of bars in villages and near schools.
He promised to work with the national government to close the bars which he noted are exposing students to alcohol.
Mr Wambora instructed all the ward administrators to work with chiefs and the police to get rid of such bars.
"We must protect our children from engaging in drinking alcohol which can easily waste them away," he said.