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Ten million investment announced for potato processing plant in Kenya

Ten million investment announced for potato processing plant in Kenya

Potato Farmers in Nyandarua County, Kenya (Courtesy: National Media Group)

Switzerland-based New Ventures, through its food and beverage subsidiary Kingdom Foods [Kingdom GHL] has announced plans to set up a potato processing factory in Kenya, to be located in Elgeyo-Marakwet at a cost of Sh1 billion (10 million USD)

Kingdom Food business development manager Sialo Kimiring said the move followed talks with the county as well as the need to improve the livelihoods of potato farmers through value addition.

Sialo Kimiring, Kingdom Food business development manager:

“The factory will give a sustainable value to our customers, shareholders and associates.”

“In addition, Elgeyo Marakwet is a top potato producing country besides its proximity to the Eldoret International Airport for export opportunities.”
The announcement promises a ready market to hundreds of farmers in six Rift Valley and western counties currently struggling to find an outlet for their produce including Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Bungoma and West Pokot.

The Swiss firm is also mulling the possibility of setting up potato cold storage facilities in the counties to act as collection centres for the factory.

New Ventures last week signed a deal with the Elgeyo-Marakwet county government to pave the way for building of the factory to begin later in the year after the feasibility studies are completed.

Speaking in Eldoret after signing the agreement with governor Alex Tolgos, Mr Kimiring said the factory would produce potato flour, flakes, chips and fries.

The governor said the deal was a milestone in the county’s quest to woo investors.

Alex Tolgos, Governor Elgeyo Marakwet:

“We welcome the decision by Kingdom Foods to set the factory in our county.”

“This is a huge boost to our farmers who have for long suffered at the hands of brokers who buy their produce at throw away prices”
Mr Kimiring added that the factory would guarantee farmers steady income.

Sialo Kimiring:

“We will completely do away with fluctuating potato prices which at present range between Sh500 and Sh4,000 depending on seasons per 50-kg bag.”
Elgeyo Marakwet produces an average of 300,000 tonnes of potatoes annually.
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