Counties

Kajiado-Narok bloc to focus on value addition

lenku

Kajiado County Governor Joseph Ole Lenku. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Summary

  • The bloc recently got a foundation after the two county assemblies passed a law.
  • The bloc is meant to create systems and frameworks in the counties to ensure collaboration in policy formulation, resource mapping and management.
  • Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku, who is the bloc’s chairman, has said residents of the two counties remain poor despite enormous wealth found in the region.

The new Kajiado-Narok Economic Bloc targets giving priority to animal product value addition to drive growth in the two counties.

The bloc recently got a foundation after the two county assemblies passed a law.

The bloc is meant to create systems and frameworks in the counties to ensure collaboration in policy formulation, resource mapping and management.

The bloc will also be instrumental in marketing and branding, access to credit for increased investment, vulnerable groups empowerment, value-addition and the cohesion and integration of communities.

During the swearing of bloc’s chief executive Jackson Mpario in Kajiado last week, Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku, who is the bloc’s chairman, said residents of the two counties remain poor despite enormous wealth found in the region.

“The majority of residents from the two counties are extremely poor despite their classification among the richest counties in the country. We want to empower our people and make use of the available resources,” he said.

Mr Lenku said the bloc would focus on value-addition as the next critical tool for the economic empowerment of the locals.

“Let us embrace value-addition on farm produce and livestock products to increase the profit margins for our people,” he said.

Mr Lenku said the economic bloc would also give the two counties more political bargaining power on matters concerning their communities including historical land injustice.

Narok deputy governor Evelyne Aruasa underscored the need for the two arid and semi-arid counties to engage in the value-addition of plant and animal products like meat and leather to boost returns.

“Kajiado and Narok counties remain Siamese twins sharing the same challenges and fortunes. Our region is full of resources requiring good management for our people to reap benefits,” she said.

The two counties share cultural values, tourism attractions and agriculture. The livestock sector in the two counties has an annual turnover of more than Sh6.5 billion with over 300,000 heads of cattle sold annually.

Narok is East Africa’s largest wheat-growing belt, accounting for nearly half of the 500,000 tonnes of produced in Kenya.

According to Ewaso Ng’iro South Development AuthorityKajiado, Loitoktok agricultural belt produced tomatoes worth Sh1.3 billion in between 2019-2020 financial year becoming the second-largest producer in Kenya after Kirinyaga.

However, farmers lose 40 percent of the total harvest annually amounting to Sh300 million every four months due to market inconsistencies.

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