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In Kenya, Murang’a County targets regional trade with Sh2.5bn market

Posted In Business, NEWS - By admin on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 With No Comments »

Murang’a County will host a Sh2.5 billion fresh produce market in Maragua, which is expected to be operational by 2015.

In the long run, the market is expected to link the Mt Kenya region to regional trade blocs, including Comesa.

Manufacturing factories in strategic towns are expected to support the market to encourage value addition.

Investors in agribusiness said that once completed, the market would help local farmers to embrace the culture of mass exports.

The project had been identified by the Vision 2030 Secretariat as one of the 10 flagship wholesale hubs to be implemented under its first medium-term plan.

At the inception of the idea, it was anticipated that the project would be complete by this year but slow economic growth as a result of the post-election violence derailed its implementation.

But yesterday, Town Council of Maragua officials held an extraordinary meeting to discuss implementation of the project.

The project chief financiers are the ministries of Trade, Public Works, Local Government and National Planning and Vision 2030.

Council chairman Cyrus Ruru said that the local authority would donate 20 acres of land for the project.

“We have already identified that land along Kenol-Murang’a highway and erected beacons. We have advertised for change of user to move it from agricultural status to commercial status,” he said.

Mr Ruru said that the project would not result in displacement of people and compensation since it would be located on public utility land.

“The area has no issues around it since it is community land. After holding stakeholders’ meetings, the community accepted to donate it for the project,” he said.

Maragua MP Elias Mbau said he had been assured that a ground breaking ceremony would be held by mid January, next year.

“The project is running behind schedule and after we donated the land, we expect it to be implemented without any further delays,’ he said.

The project was supposed to be factored in the 2011/2012 budgetary estimates but by the time of its presentation in Parliament, ideal land to host it had not been identified.

This prompted the Vision 2030 Secretariat to consider relocating it, a move that piled pressure on Murang’a County leadership to identify the 20-acre piece of land.

The project found its way onto the floor of the House in September 2010 as Mr Mbau fought against its relocation.

The project is part of the government’s projection of spending Sh10 billion in establishing 30 pilot markets by 2015 as it seeks to spur agribusiness at the grassroots.

The outlets would help farmers to access organised markets.

The farmers are expected to establish producer cooperative societies, which would train and offer them soft loans to help members meet the high demand for their produce likely to be created by the new markets.

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