Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi is on a six-day visit to South Korea to seek areas of collaboration with the East Asia country.
One of the key issues Cheboi will pursue during the trip is the establishment of more Baringo coffee shops in South Korea to market Baringo Coffee.
Cheboi and his delegation are expected to negotiate for the fast-tracking of the Baringo Cha Coffee Mill annexure, including a packaging unit and Coffee Business Information Centre.
The governor is to negotiate the expansion of the subsidised coffee seedlings programme, to include farm input, and technology transfers, to reach more farmers to provide enough coffee for the coffee mill.
The ultra-modern factory mills 1.2 tonnes of coffee an hour. The plant has a milling machine with two lines to mill parchment and mbuni coffee beans, a lab, and a warehouse.
The governor is expected to meet the Council of Seoul and surrounding areas to explore areas of mutual interest.
“The delegation will also seek support for the improvement of health services, and the resumption of ICT Education support expected to yield more computers for Baringo secondary schools and the equipping of Baringo County ICT centres,” read a statement by the county government.
In 2014, the county forged a partnership with the World Best Friend Kenya, through Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica), in an effort to improve agriculture as well as the Information and Communication sectors.
The relationship has continued to bear fruit for the people of Baringo. According to Cheboi, there is need to nurture collaboration through constant engagements.
“It is an opportunity to find ways to address the challenges facing our local economies and population, problems that require the combined response from private, public and international actors to be effectively and efficiently addressed,” read a statement by the county.
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The Baringo-Korea partnership, according to the statement, saw the establishment and equipping of Elias ICT Centre in Kabarnet at a cost of approximately Sh9.6 million.
The partnership has led to 1,289 computers being distributed to ICT labs in 123 secondary schools in Baringo. The Elias ICT Centre has trained 7,093 learners on computer literacy skills.
The partnership also saw the county sign a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the Sh70 million Baringo Cha Coffee Mill which is arguably the partnership's flagship project. The project will cost an estimated Sh100 million upon completion.
The mill is already operational and processed 130 tonnes of coffee in its inaugural season last year, earning farmers Sh30 million.
The collaboration between the county and the Korean NGO has also seen the distribution of 400,000 coffee seedlings valued at Sh24 million.
By 2017, there were eight Baringo coffee shops in Seoul and Suwon cities in Korea.
“In 2015, World Together Kenya, a Korean NGO, donated pedigree heifers worth over Sh50 million to Baringo County Dairy Farmers. And the county government in partnership with Chosun University has held free medical camps in Kabarnet and Tiaty,” read the statement.