Export boon for Lake region as Kisumu gets cold storage facility


Kisumu International Airport. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Farmers in Western Kenya eyeing the lucrative export market are headed for better times, following the launch of a cargo division and cold chain at the Kisumu International Airport.

At the weekend, the inaugural flight ferrying 16 tonnes of cargo destined for United Kingdom flew from Kisumu, highlighting Kenya's quest to expand its freight cargo export destinations.?

The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) counties are also eyeing to tap into the development to promote horticultural farming for the export market as well as position Kisumu as a regional business hub.

The upgrade was pioneered by Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong'o’s in collaboration with Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Airways.

Speaking during the launch, leaders and senior government officials, including Nyong’o and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, said the facility will see the region produce more products for export and revamp its economy.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

They urged residents to tap into the international market, with Kenya Airways promising to increase cargo flights if demand grows.

“What we are witnessing today is a major economic boon for this region. It is a major statement that we have been sitting on a massive economic potential,” said Nyong’o.

“The establishment of the cargo village at the airport will create employment opportunities for cargo airlines, freight forwarders and fish traders.” 

The first cargo flown from Kisumu included several boxes of green chilly.

Kenya Airways Chief Executive Allan Kivaluka said the airline will provide a capacity of six tonnes of cargo daily from the lakeside city.

“We are committing to introduce a fully-fledged freighter once the region is able to produce more cargo,” said Kivaluka. 

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