State, counties in talks to fast-track industrial parks

Thursday, June 6th, 2024 04:30 | By
CS Rebecca Miano in a meeting with Governor Paul Otuoma. PHOTO/ PRINT.

The government has initiated consultations with governors in a move meant to unlock an impasse and fast-track the establishment of County Aggregation and Industrial Parks (CAIPS) across counties.

The parks which are expected to grow manufacturing and agro-industrial investments and enhance the competitiveness of the agriculture sector sustainably are to be actualised with close partnership with the private sector and counties.

The intention is to use the facilities to leverage the value chain to create inclusive decent jobs, promote productivity at the firm level, increase farmers’ income, increase exports and increase foreign exchange.

The collaboration between the national and county governments aims at attracting proposals from stakeholders with a formal call for expression of interest slated for a later date in June.

Speaking during a consultative meeting that brought together officials from national and county governments, Trade, Investments and Industry Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano said the construction process is in high gear.

The government recently disbursed KSh1.125 billion to 18 counties undertaking phase one of the parks with each receiving Ksh62.5 million to expedite the implementation process.

Expression of interest

Miano noted that the ministry has already developed proposals for expression of interest in several areas including CAIPs management and equipping them to promote value addition of local agricultural and industrial resources.

Expression of interest is also on constructing additional warehouses and supportive infrastructure, encouraging industrial investment in aggregation, value addition, manufacturing, branding, packaging, labelling and logistics.

Despite the earlier disbursement, some counties are still below 5 per cent in construction progress.

“We have initiated further discussions with the counties below 5 per cent to encourage and assist them in resolving the issues affecting their progress,” she said.

Miano noted that the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) has stagnated at around 7 per cent, and despite Kenya being an agriculture-led economy, the export value added of agricultural and livestock products remains at 16 per cent.

To actualise this vision, each county is slated to receive a substantial allocation of Sh1 billion for infrastructure development. However, the success of these projects hinges on collaboration between county governments and the private sector, whether through financial investment or expertise, fostering a robust value chain that drives economic growth.

With effective coordination among all stakeholders, including farmers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers, the initiative aims to enhance quality control, reduce post-harvest losses, and increase value addition throughout the supply chain.

Successful implementation of these initiatives could position Kenya as a major export hub, boosting foreign exchange earnings and lifting many out of poverty.

Leveraging a farmer-centred and export-oriented approach, small-scale farmers will play a pivotal role in marketing and exporting produce, unlocking opportunities even in remote villages.

Lucrative markets

The establishment of these centres will among others open doors to lucrative markets such as the Chinese Avocado market, the European Union’s horticulture market, and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

As counties embark on the CAIP projects, it is expected to generate additional employment opportunities, thereby elevating income levels for families and stakeholders across the agricultural value chain.

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