North Rift counties moot plan to boost international trade

County governments from the North Rift are seeking a strategy to market their products and effectively use available infrastructure and facilities in international trade.

Uasin Gishu County Trade, Industrialisation and Tourism executive Philip Melly said last week that plans were on course to rebrand the counties and boost sports, culture as well as eco-tourism.

“As leaders of county governments in the North Rift region, we are currently looking at opportunities and challenges in trade and agriculture and what can be done to address them,” he said.

Addressing stakeholders in Eldoret during an inter-county trade and agriculture forum, Mr Melly said that the plan would involve horticultural and aviation sectors, among others.

“We want to come up with a joint strategy on how we can improve quality of production to meet needs of both local and international markets,” he added.

Speaking at the same function, Kenya Investments Authority North Rift regional manager Robert Matarei said that the agency had partnered with all the 47 counties to support investment plans.

“This programme is meant to sensitise farmers, exporters of horticultural produce and other products to use the available facilities like the Eldoret International Airport,” he said.

“This region being the bread-basket of the country, we also want farmers to take up horticulture as a serious business to create wealth and eradicate poverty.”

Horticultural Crops Development Authority station manager Barnabas Kiprop Kiptum said that the region had a big potential for production of a wide range of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

He added that a good strategy would ensure produce from the region is exported directly from the airport.

“The North Rift region has about five big horticulture exporters who produce up to 40 per cent of Kenya’s flower and fruit exports,” he said.

“If they all agree to export from the Eldoret International Airport it can sustain two weekly flights to Amsterdam.”

He added that the move would create an opportunity for farmers keen on exporting horticultural produce alongside the major players in the sector.

The two-day forum attracted more than 100 experts from different sectors in the region.