The resin production plant in Lanbib, Wajir County, is set to start operations promising to make Kenya the second producer of gum in Africa after Sudan.
Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority chairman Hussein Maalim Mohamed and managing director Omar Sheikh visited the plan to witness the pre-production trials.
The resin and gum project, funded through Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority under the Ministry of Regional Development, is complete and expected to change the fortunes of people in Wajir, Isiolo and Samburu counties.
Addressing journalists, Managing Director Omar Sheikh said that gum and resin are among the natural resources in the basin with potential to generate wealth and uplift living standards of local communities. Mr Omar said that counties in northern and parts of eastern Kenya were the principal producers of gum and resin. They include Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu. They have large quantities of the resources. Most of the produce is exported for use as preservatives, in pharmaceutical industries and for cosmetics.
The need to add value to gum and resin was emphasised during a training forum hosted by Ewaso Ng’iro North Natural Resources Conservation Project and funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Mr Sheikh called for a blueprint to address needs of local communities which are dependent on the gum in order to improve their livelihoods.
The regional authority set up a pilot processing factory in Wajir in order to promote value addition to gum and resin with a view of establishing three plants in other areas.