Trans Nzoia to set up Sh600m maize milling plant

Maize farmers in Trans Nzoia are set to benefit from a Sh600 milling plant to be constructed in Kitale.

The farmers said the milling plant will give them an opportunity to add value to their produce and cut out middlemen who have exploited them for years by buying maize at low prices.

“We highly welcome this initiative since it is the only way we can face the market whose maize price has been affected by middlemen,” said Andrew Rotich, the Farmers and Livestock Association’s chairman.

Trans Nzoia county government has partnered with the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) to construct the maize milling plant.

The governor Patrick Khaemba said the plant is set to open a window for farmers to add value on their produce and sell the flour at higher prices.

“With the maize market being unpredictable, we have to invest in value addition so that our farmers are not manipulated by middlemen,” Mr Khaemba said.

He said producing maize flour and selling it to far markets will enable farmers to access new markets.

“The government has initiated a maize irrigation project at Galana expected to produce 40 million bags, which is the country’s demand. This means we will lack a market for our maize,” he said.

Trans Nzoia’s poverty index remains high despite it being the country’s bread basket owing to poor marketing for produce.

The governor said the milling plant will eliminate the middlemen who are turning farmers into paupers as they reap from their sweat.

ICDC chairman Martin Muragu said the initiative is aimed at alleviating poverty levels.

“We have to empower farmers have mechanisms of adding value to their produce before selling,” he said.

Trans Nzoia is the first county that has entered into a development agreement with ICDC.

Mr Muragu said ICDC is eyeing more partnerships with other counties to spur economic development.