An industrial park in Uasin Gishu is set transform the economic fortunes of the region.
The Sh200 billion Africa Economic Zones Pearl River Industrial Park (AEZ) will be integrated into the county’s development plans.
According to the chairman of the park, Dr David Langat, the region will earn more from agriculture through value addition.
He said landowners and farmers in Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Samburu, Baringo, Turkana and Trans Nzioa will have an opportunity to increase their incomes through contract farming.
“Agro-processing enterprises will aim at creating a secure supply of high quality produce by providing farmers with quality inputs under a contract to purchase, process and market,” he said.
Dr Langat was speaking in Eldoret last week when he met investors from Guangzhou, China, who are keen on investing in the park, which is a special export processing zone.
He said that local and international investors should take advantage of the conducive business environment created by the national government to enhance trading.
“The doors have been opened for us to do business. We should take advantage of this opportunity to foster international trade,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) chairman Jackson Mandago, who is also the Uasin Gishu County governor, said North Rift governors had agreed to support the Sh200 billion project.
Mr Mandago said AEZ would create jobs for the youth in West Pokot, Samburu, Baringo, Turkana and Trans Nzioa counties.
“As counties under Noreb, we will ensure the industrial park succeeds and benefits the more than 10 million people in the region,” he said.
Mr Mandago said the park would be one of the largest investments in the North Rift.
“We foresee major benefits that will open up the region to investments in tourism and other sectors,” he said.
Elgeyo Markwet Governor Alex Tolgos said the project would address unemployment through jobs creation and promotion of agriculture, adding that the region would soon produce horticulture for export.
“We plan to have two or three cargo planes operating at the Eldoret Airport weekly if farmers produce horticulture for export,” he said.
Dr Langat said he would work with investors from different parts of the world to develop the industrial park into a world class export hub.
Through manufacturing and support facilities, the industrial park is expected to create 2,500 jobs during its development, and over 40,000 when operational, with an additional 150,000 through downstream and upstream activities.