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November 21, 2018

Manufacturers seek alternative energy to mitigate high costsdecry high energy costs

A production line at Keroche beer manufacturing company, Naivasha. /FILE
A production line at Keroche beer manufacturing company, Naivasha. /FILE

Industrialists are resorting to other means of producing power after continual frustrations due to expensive energy.

David Langat of DL Group in Eldoret, said his company has had to come up with innovative ways to ensure other investors in the Special Economic Zone where his company is based also get access to cheap power.

“We came up with a solution which supplies 94 megawatts of power to enable us meet cost of energy. We also supply to other businesses,” he said during a discussion on how to support manufacturing in the big four agenda. He said energy experts from the USA have developed interest in advancing on the power generation model, which he did not explain further.

Manufacturing Principal secretary  Betty Maina said the government is working towards five key areas in manufacturing to spur job creation and export business in the next 36 months.

The textile and apparel value chain will be revamped from farm to final product, where the government plans to reduce the import bill of fabric from $270 billion. Kenya exports $340 billion in textiles to the USA under the AGOA act.

Part of the efforts include agriculture department’s testing of the BT cotton seed which is then expected to be distributed to farmers.

The ministry is working to revive cotton ginneries, and mills saying Rivatex is among the factories that will be engaged in textile production. It is expected to employ over 2,000 workers.

Another sector is footwear and leatherwork, whose potential in the international markets is promising. She said other than being able to employ workers, the leather sector will spur animal husbandry which will in turn ensure high quality hides and skins.

Investors should also keep an eye for the agroprocessing sector, where local harvest is in dire need of a developed value chain to reduce losses and increase shelf prices of products.

She said there are efforts to introduce assembling of passenger vehicles in the local automotive sector which has been assembling big trucks since the 1970s. Other areas of investment include  pharmaceutical sector, and ICT, enabling manufacturing through technology. She said the government sponsored funds including youth and women fund will all be consolidated to support micro and small enterprises with loans for business.

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