Residents of Ndhiwa in Homa Bay County have hailed the move by Sukari Industries Limited to repair the 10-kilometre Ndhiwa-Riat Road at a cost of Sh12 million, saying the road will open up the area and improve living standard.
Speaking to Standard Digital on Tuesday, Sukari Industries general manager David Okoth said the poor state of the road had led to delays in cane delivery from the farms to the factory.
“Its completion has seen production turn over time increased with the firm now easily accessible,” he said.
Sukari Limited hired over 50 locals to repair the murram road connecting the only cane factory in the entire Homa Bay County to Ndhiwa town.
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Sukari HR manager Collins Aluku said they opted to hired 50 locals as a way of creating employment, adding that the policy of the factory is to hire 80 per cent of its works locally.
“We have to ensure we uplift the living standards of locals by engaging them in short term and long time employment,” said Aluku.
Locals said the road project has seen the number of accidents and respiratory diseases caused by dust reduce.
Ndiwa boda boda chairman Dan Yambo said locals and traders have suffered respiratory complications for over 10 years as a result of the poor state of the road.
He said before the repair, locals seeking medical attention in Ndhiwa had to endure a tiresome one-hour journey with expectant mothers forced to give birth before reaching hospital leading to complications
“We have witnessed miscarriages and death of expectant mothers as a result of the bad road, that is why we are elated about the repair job,” said Yambo.
He said locals and boda boda operators have suffered respiratory diseases such as coughing and breathing complication due to the dust emanating from the road.
Kowuonda junction boda boda chairman Charles Omolo said cyclists have suffered on the road with others being hit by tractors as they try to avoid potholes.
We are a happy lot the sugar factory has done us proud, we are grateful,” he said.
The road was first expanded from the initial six to eight metres wide before raising it and installing proper drainage.
Repair work chief engineer Boaz Amoke said the road will last for at least two years before any maintenance work can be done.
“We used heavy machinery that included modern graders. And hired casual labourers from the community, and they did a good job,” he said.
Other feeder roads
Sukari factory which has its sugar trademark as Ndhiwa Sugar has also reconstructed the five-kilometre Amoyo - Ligotho road, 10-kilometre Amoyo- Ongito Road, nine-kilometre Ongito-Ayego Road, 12-kilometre Oria market - Nyamasare Road,
The factory has also repaired 11-kilometre Oria- Pala Road, 14-kilometre Awendo- Nyaundo Road, eight-kilometre Alili- Rapdhi and the seven-kilometre Rapedhi-Maliwa road.
Okoth urged the National and county governments to now upgrade the roads to tarmac, saying the roads will not only help farmers transport their cane easily but also serve locals.
“If the government can tarmac the road, it will take roughly five minutes from Ndhiwa town to Riat, reducing the cost of transport,” said a boda boda operator plying the route.
Just like the Ndhiwa-Riat Road, most murram roads in Homa Bay are under the Kenya Rural Roads Authority.