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Nyeri’s Wamagana fish factory test run reveals freezer is defective

CENTRAL
By Lydiah Nyawira | Feb 29th 2016 | 2 min read

NYERI: A test run has revealed that a new fish factory cannot operate to full capacity as some of its equipment is defective.

During the trial last week at Wamagana Fish Factory it was discovered that the blast freezer had a technical hitch. Nevertheless, the factory was still able to process 200kg of fish.

At least 500 of Nyeri's Fish Farmers Co-operative Society members started delivering their produce to the factory after they were advised to do so by the Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries officials in the county.

Nyeri Fisheries Director James Gakuo said the freezer failed to work despite several attempts to restart it.

"The purpose of the test run was to ensure that all the machinery is working before we increase production to full capacity," Mr Gakuo said.

The factory is one of the four mini-processing plants constructed under the Economic Stimulus Package and handed over to farmers after the government was devolved.

"The county government is managing the factory on an interim basis as we allow farmers to organise themselves into a co-operative, and build a capital base adequate enough to run the factory," Gakuo explained.

Gakuo said that he had already requested mechanical engineers from the county public works office to visit the plant and solve the problem.

"It will take a while to rectify the problem because the procurement and construction of these facilities was done by the national government and we must follow the procedure before any repairs are carried out," he explained.

He however, said that the factory will continue processing small quantities of fish every week until the machine is repaired.

"We are able to process and package the fish even without the blast freezer and therefore farmers should continue bringing in their catch," Gakuo said.

Chairman of the Nyeri Fish Farmers Co-operative Charles Mbauini said the county has 2,400 fish farmers and expressed optimism that more will join his co-operative.

The factory was constructed at the cost of Sh61 million and has the capacity to process and store 12 tonnes of fish per week.

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