Kakamega County has partnered with the US government to set up a Sh1.2 billion Regen Organic Fertilizer Manufacturing plant to cater for the needs of farmers who can hardly afford fertiliser.
Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman yesterday led a ground-breaking ceremony to open the factory at Matawa area Mumias West.
The project that lies on a 49-acre piece of land is being constructed by Regen Organics through US-Kenya Investment Mechanism.
According to Michael Lwoyelo, the Regen Organics Managing Director, the plant is estimated to be complete in 18 months.
Lwoyelo said the plant aims to turn waste material into fertiliser stating that more than 600,000 farmers are going to benefit from the plant.
“This factory goes a long way in helping farmers to improve their productivity by getting organic fertilizers, training of farmers, soil testing, and improvement of soil fertility to improve on farmers yield,” said Lwoyelo.
“This will accelerate the agricultural revolution in Kenya and create jobs for many people to earn a living."
Barasa said the plant would impact the Lake Region economic bloc counties by boosting health, sanitation and hygiene, food security and social development.
“We are looking forward to creating wealth through agricultural productivity where the plant will address the issue of poverty in our region by offering a solution to the issue of food insecurity where farmers will get fertilizer and animal feeds at subsidy price, " he said.
Barasa said they experienced difficulty in addressing 2,400 tons of waste from Kakamega and Mumias towns and that the factory would come in handy in making the waste into a valuable resource.
“This is a solution to our perennial problem of waste management where the factory will generate it into fertilizers and animal feeds for our farmers alongside preserving climate and environment,” said Barasa.
Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo who chairs the Climate bit in the Governor's council said the main challenge in urban areas waste management would be addressed by the factory.
“Climate change is a pandemic and we need collective efforts to address the emission of methane and we need to solve it by converting the waste into organic fertilizer and improving agricultural production," said Otticho.
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He added that the organic fertilizer by the plant will revive the dwindling agricultural production due to soil infertility caused by inorganic fertilizer.
The US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman said the US government is keen on investing in Africa more so in Kenya in terms of improving agricultural production and economic growth.
She added that there is a need for public and private partnerships in the region by county governors adding that the plant will generate more jobs.
“We want this project to translate into more fertilizers and animal feeds to the hands of farmers to improve food production and hence food security, the United States looks forward to investing in Kenya as it is a secure place for investment in Africa for the US government,” said Whitman.
Whitman said the US government has pumped US2.65 million dollars into the project to boost economic growth by supporting the organic companies.