The Coast Development Authority (CDA) has unveiled bottled water in the arid Tana River County.
The new product also known as the ‘Tana Best’ is being rolled out at the Integrated Fruit Processing Plant (IFPP) factory located in Boji Tana River County.
For the water bottling plant, the CDA will be getting the water from River Tana that meanders in the vast region.
CDA Managing Director (MD) Dr. Mohamed Keinan says the Authority has upgraded the fruit juice manufacturing equipment to include a water production line.
“We have injected Sh.7.5 million to install a state-of-the-art water treatment and packaging equipment,” he said adding that appropriate planning and research was done to ensure the new product was successful.
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Keinan says development projects in the coastal region are being aligned with the national government’s agenda of universal healthcare, affordable housing, food security, and manufacturing.
Dr. Keinan said the new venture into the water bottling business was to complement the mango processing plant during offseason.
“The factory has permanent employees so we had to explore other options to keep the factory functioning round the year and keep employees busy,” he said.
Dr. Keinan disclosed plans are underway to upgrade the integrated IFPP factory to a multi-fruit juice facility to include processing pineapples, watermelon, chili, and tomato sauce with carton packaging after undergoing an expansion.
The MD who spoke during the product launch was accompanied by directors Beatrice Gambo and Amina Abdalla, who appreciated the investment. They said the project had achieved President Uhuru Kenyatta's agenda on Manufacturing.
Dr Keinan said the Automatic water bottling plant has a packaging capacity of up to 4,000 bottles of purified water an hour for sustainability.
Cynthia Mugo fruit processing project coordinator says the plastic water bottles are currently produced and supplied in 500 ml and 1-litre bottles and will be upscaled as per market needs.
The new developments have been welcomed by residents living near the factory saying it will create jobs for local youth, helping foster economic development in the Region.
A local community leader Harun Ali has hailed the upgrading of the fruit processing factory saying it will, in the long run, improve farmers' livelihoods and also create jobs for locals.