The Kerio Valley Development Authority and Indian investors will pump in Sh10 billion for a sugar production project.
KVDA chief executive David Kimosop said 25,000hectares ( 61,776 acres) will be set aside for cultivation and the building of a factory near Turkwel on the border between West Pokot and Turkana.
He spoke on Tuesday when he hosted 50 university students trained on food security for a year in Israel. The government, through KVDA, is also partnering with Israel to boost food security.
The students are on a 10-day field study in Kerio Valley where they will visit KVDA projects.
“We would like to give the students an opportunity to put into practice what they learned in Israel, a country that is a desert but produces its food locally,” Kimosop said.
The students will advise farmers on techniques to improve production. “KVDA believes it’s important to tap into what they have learned for the benefit of our country,” Kimosop said.
Kimosop said KVDA supports President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda and it will focus on improving food production in the North Rift region.
“The sugar project we are planning will empower pastoralists economically and enable the country sustain itself in sugarcane production,” he said.
Sugarcane yield in Rift Valley has increased from 1,041,780 tonnes to 1,644,395 tonnes in two years as more farmers diversify.
A report indicates the acreage under sugarcane has increased from 56.8ha ( 140.3 acres) to 64.2ha ( 158.6 acres) with production of 2,198 tonnes.
Kimosop said KVDA will focus on food production in the North Rift counties because they are usually worst hit by drought.