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Kakamega gets US help to put up fertiliser plant

 Kakamega County Governor Fernandes Barasa and USA Ambassador to Kenya Margaret Meg Whitman unveiling plaque during the official launch of the construction of the Kakamega county organic fertiliser plant at Matawa in Mumias West on May 31, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega County Government has partnered with the US Government to set up an Sh1.2 billion Regen Organic fertiliser manufacturing plant to cater for farmers' needs.

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and US Ambassador to Kenya Margaret Whitman yesterday led a ground-breaking ceremony for the factory at Matawa area in Mumias West.

The project lies on a 49-acre piece of land and is being constructed by Regen Organics through US-Kenya Investment Mechanism.

Regen Organics Managing Director Michael Lwoyelo said the plant will be complete in about 18 months.

Mr Lwoyelo said the plant will turn waste material into fertiliser, stating that more than 600,000 farmers will benefit.

"This factory goes a long way in helping farmers improve their productivity by getting organic fertilisers, training, soil testing, and improvement of soil fertility," he said.

Mr 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 issues such as poverty by offering a solution to food insecurity where farmers will get fertiliser, and animal feeds at a fair price, " he said.

He said they experienced difficulty addressing 2,400 tons of waste from Kakamega and Mumias towns and the new factory would come in handy and make the waste a valuable resource.

"This is a solution to our perennial problem of waste management where the factory will generate it into fertilisers and animal feeds for our farmers alongside preserving our environment," said Barasa.

Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo, who chairs the climate bit in the Council of Governors, said the main challenge in urban areas is waste management.

"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 fertiliser and improve on agricultural production," said Otticho.

Ms 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 said there is need for public and private partnerships in the region, adding that the plant will generate jobs.

"We want this project to translate into more fertilisers 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.

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