• The 900-square metre facility has a capacity to hold 100,000 metric tonnes of potatoes.
• Nyandarua governor says potato post-losses in the county are at 40 per cent.
The national government has started the construction of Sh100 million potato cold storage plant in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua county.
The 900-square metre facility with a 100,000 metric tonne capacity was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his tour of Nyandarua on January 31.
Trade CAS Lawrence Karanja said on Monday the facility will take 90 days to complete and Uhuru will commission it in October.
“The President is committed to visiting after 90 days and commission this project, probably by October 1. The governor and the county commissioner should be the President’s eyes and ensure strict adherence to timelines,” Karanja said.
Karanja spoke in Ol Kalou town when he handed over the site to contractor, Jomaki Enterprises. Work commenced immediately.
The CAS said three more potato cold storage facilities have been earmarked for construction at Shamata in Ndaragwa, Wanjohi in Kipipiri and Engineer in Kinangop constituencies. But these will be built once residents prove they have the capacity to utilise the Ol Kalou facility.
He said proposals for similar facilities at Mirangine and Kinangop subcounties had also been forwarded.
“Most important is that this facility will prevent post-harvest losses,” he said.
Karanja said the facility goes a long way in supporting two pillars of the Big Four agenda – food security and manufacturing – in that preservation of potatoes will ensure there is enough supply during dry periods, while processing supports the manufacturing pillar.
He was accompanied by Trade Principal Secretary Johnson Weru, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, speaker Wahome Ndegwa, county commissioner Boaz Cherutich, among other national and county government officials.
Kimemia said post-harvest losses of potatoes in Nyandarua are at 40 per cent. He said in July, the county government would start building the Sh1 billion potato processing plant, a joint venture between the national government and Nyandarua county government, on a 50-50 basis.
Kimemia said farmers will be free to sell their produce to the county government for processing, or keep in the cold storage at a small premium to sell when prices are good.
Ndegwa said if the potato sector is managed properly, 70 per cent of Nyandarua residents will have money in their pockets.
Edited by A.N