The construction of cashew nut processing factory in Kakanjuni, Kilifi, is expected to begin in October.
The factory with a capacity to process 10,000 metric tonnes of nuts per year is part of the Sh240 million cashew nuts and sesame value-addition project that the European Union is funding under the Visegrad Group, which comprises Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.
The project implemented by Ten Senses Fair Company targets to grow about one million cashew nut trees per year in Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale for processing at the factory.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said prolonged drought in the region is one the biggest challenge affecting the project since locals depend on rain to grow the crop.
Speaking after meeting the Slovak Ambassador to Kenya František Dlhopolek, he said the county has distributed more than 200,000 free cashew nut seedlings to farmers. “The county government in collaboration with Ten Senses Fair Company also offers extension services,” he said.
Ten Senses, the project implementer, propagates cashew seedlings in Kakanjuni.
Earlier, Ten Senses Fair managing director Frank Omondi said the firm sells the seedlings at a subsidised price of Sh50 compared to the market rate of about Sh100 to Sh150 in order to make it affordable to farmers.
Mr Kingi has also tapped a Ghanaian investor to introduce cocoa farming in Kilifi, targeting 99,000 farmers.