By GEOFFREY MOSOKU
NAROK , KENYA: Narok County is positioning itself to join the country’s major sugar belts in the face of threats posed to the local industry.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) safeguards allows the local industry to re-organise in the face of cheap sugar imports will be lifted in March next year. The impending expiry of the moratorium to control sugar imports from Comesa, however may come as a relive following the entry of an Indian investor in the country.
The county will get a sugar factory early next year. Last Thursday, Rajarambapu Group of Companies signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Narok County government to set up the largest sugar cane firm at Lolgorian.
The MOU was signed by the company’s Vice-President of in charge of overseas operations and Managing Director Subhash Jamdade, Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai, before Deputy President William Ruto.
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Ruto pledged to provide necessary government support to ensure that the investors succeed. “ Now that we have signed the MOU, we shall send a ten man team of engineers, finance officers and agricultural researchers to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a report for eventual implementation. We should start project by March next year,” said Subhash. The green field project to be initiated early next year is expected have a cane crushing capacity of 10,000 tonnes per day.
The project is to be built on 20,000-acre farm at a cost of 10.2 billion ($120m). The county government will negotiate with individual farmers on modalities of leasing the firms to the company.
The group also has vast interests in textile industry, banking and soya bean processing with a total turnover of $500 million.
Tunai urged the Maasai community to embrace cane farming.