• Manda-Maweni Quarrying Cooperative Society chair Ben Ojuok said they have been overlooked for supply of materials to state projects.
• They said the governments have often promoted foreigners enterprises at the expense of local industries.
Lamu stone miners have urged the county and national governments to buy building materials from them instead of outsourcing from other regions.
They said the two governments have often promoted foreigners' enterprises at the expense of local industries.
Manda-Maweni Quarrying Cooperative Society chair Ben Ojuok said they have been overlooked for supply of materials to state projects.
“This industry can comfortably supply stone and murram to the Lapsset and other projects here without a hitch. We have tried to seek tenders for such, but it has been hard,” Ojuok said.
“Why buy from Kilifi and Mombasa when we have what they have?” he asked.
Stone mining in Lamu is carried out on a large scale in Manda-Maweni, Hindi, Baharini, Mokowe and Nairobi areas.
The county has over 50 mining sites where each minor produces up to 5,000 blocks and 5,000 bags of murram daily.
Manda-Maweni village located inside Manda Island has more than 2,000 people who all depend directly on proceeds from stone mining.
The miners want the two levels of government to give them tenders to supply materials for projects to boost the industry and improve livelihoods.
They said a major hindrance to the expansion of the trade was the lack of a ready market for their materials.
Peter Kamau, a stone miner in Hindi, said private firms buy from them at a low cost, leaving them with losses.
“The county and national governments can help us identify markets for our products. They can start by being our first clientele by buying from us before seeking outside sellers of similar products,” Kamau said.
They also want the government to give them modern quarrying and mining tools.
“Most of these miners use manual tools which are slow and tiring. If we get brick-cutting machines, the production rate will definitely triple and that will be a plus for the county,” Nancy Adhiambo, a stone miner, said.
The county and national governments should also protect the mines from grabbers, they said.
“Most of the mines have already been acquired by private individuals and have been fenced off. We have to bribe the guards to allow us to mine. We want these mines gazetted and issued with title deeds,” said Fredrick Otieno from Manda-Maweni.
(edited by o. owino)