• The project, the Trade CS said, will serve as a catalyst for growth, with primary focus on edible oils, energy, transport and logistics, storage among others.
• By aggregating agricultural produce and establishing processing facilities within the park, the investment aims at adding value to local products.
The first phase of Busia’s County Aggregated Industrial Park will create more than 5,000 jobs for locals, plans by the Trade, Industry and Investment ministry show.
On Friday, Trade CS Moses Kuria launched the country’s first CAIP in Busia, an investment that marked a major leap towards industrialisation.
The Sh500 million project, Kuria said, will serve as a catalyst for growth with primary focus on edible oils, energy, transport and logistics, storage, cold rooms and warehousing facilities with more than 5,000 locals set to reap in employment from the investment.
“This three-phased project will not only bolster the agricultural sector but also reduce Kenya’s dependence on imported edible oils which costs the economy more than Sh100 billion annually. This first phase will create about 5,000 direct jobs,” Kuria said.
The project located at the heart of Busia county will also serve as a hub for agricultural processing and manufacturing, providing a vital link between farmers, industries and the market.
By aggregating agricultural produce and establishing processing facilities within the park, the investment aims at adding value to local products and generate employment opportunities.
“This project is part of Sh420 billion debt free equity investment funds already approved by the Pan African financial institution (AFREXIM Bank) alongside other EPZs in Sagana, Del Monte and Eldoret. Sh40 billion will be channeled to Busia,” he added.
The CS said the second phase of the scheme will focus on the establishment of an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) where the government has committed Sh1 billion with its tendering set for next week.
According to Kuria, at the end of phase three, the projects will have created over 50,000 direct jobs.
Farmers are also set to benefit more from CAIP which will offer a one-stop shop for oil crops including sunflower, sesame, soybean, groundnuts, palm, rice and the processing of cotton under Indonesian investors.
Otuoma said the park will transform from a fragmented supply chain to an aggregated demand driven approach for quality products.
“Our objective is to facilitate production and employment, attract investment, integrate into East Africa value chain and facilitate export,” the governor said.
The county chief further reiterated the project’s aim of promoting infrastructural change, diversification of production into areas of comparative and competitive advantage, stimulate research and development among others.
“We are also going to upgrade critical infrastructure including the Butula-Nambale-Amukura and Matayos-Nasewa roads to open up the park for easier access,” he said.
Otuoma lauded the national government for availing 17 tonnes of cotton seed that will be distributed to farmers across the county where 17,000 acres will be put under its farming.
Another 5,000 hectares will be put under groundnuts and over 15,000 hectares under soybeans.
The initiatives, once realised, are expected to inject about Sh10 billion into the economy.
The CAIP in Busia will also provide a platform for renewable energy initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
The CAIP is part of a plan by the national government to establish an Industrial Park in every county.
In the plan, the county government of Busia will avail Sh250 million for the project as the national government supports with a similar amount.
CAIP are one of the ways the Kenya Kwanza administration is seeking to boost agricultural production and value addition in the race to create jobs in the country.
In February, President William Ruto said the government would allocate money to every county for the construction of County Aggregated Industrial Parks.
The President said the move will enhance Kenya’s productivity as the nation is prioritising the consolidation, processing and value addition of agricultural products.
“We will allocate the money to every county for the construction of Industrial and Aggregation Park so that we can have aggregation on all our farm products,” he said.
Otuoma reiterated that the establishment of the economic hubs in counties will incubate Export Quality Assurance and Packaging as well as boost the economy.
“My administration has allocated Sh250 million similar to what the national government has committed,” Otuoma said in Busia.
“We are already sensitising our farmers on the project components that will also feature commercial production of edible oil as part of ward based economic revitalisation.”
On Saturday, the governor who spoke when he condoled with the family of Mary Nabwire Ochieng at Benga village, Marachi North ward, in Butula constituency said the launch of CAIP at Nasewa in Matayos constituency should awaken Busia people to improve agricultural production to supply raw material to the industries.
“My administration has commenced the exercise of recruiting agricultural extension officers per ward, distribution of BT cotton seeds and fertilisers to farmers across the county to boost production,” the governor said.
“I urge people go back to production because everybody wants to consume but few are willing to produce.”