Connecting, Transforming and Sustaining Livelihoods

Governor’s round table, Will it safe business in Bungoma County?

The Kenya National Farmers Federation (KENAFF) with support from Business Advocacy Fund(BAF) a non-governmental organization that supports business member organization, trade unions and civil society organizations with an interest in supporting business to engage in private public dialogue and advocate the in the business environment in Bungoma county. Speaking to western chronicle the county executive officer in trade industry and energy Lorrian Kholikho said that the county government is looking for market of the agricultural products in the country and outside to enable business men from the county borrow loans and start businesses that will develop the county. “A lot of movement of commodities in and out of the county is low but the county government is looking for a good rapport with our neighbors and even neighboring countries so that we can engage in business activities, but the legislation needs to be put in place to take care of safety of product and also protect our local industry where seller4s are supposed to produce a certification of origin of commodity.” He said. Chairman KENAFF Godfrey Murunga said that markets have been established yet they are not utilized and that traders are still selling goods at the roadside which congests the roads. “Policies should be put in place to ensure traders utilize the market centers and that the public be informed on the same which will ease revenue collection.” He said. He disclosed that processing factories are being put in place yet there are no volumes to sustain them “A goat factory is being constructed in cheptais but where is the goat milk is? Coffee mill in Musese non functional, Chwele poultry processing plant, tomato processing plant in Kimilili, dairy cooperatives yet there are no volumes to ensure efficient utilization of the plants.” He said there is need for the county government to support organizations of farmers into producer groups where farmers are to be empowered to specialize in value chains. “Farmers should be sensitized on importance of goat milk, from producer groups farmers can eventually form cooperative societies for group marketing.” The groups also said there is high incidences of impunity by the revenue officers and poor relation with the public hence a lot of money does not reach the treasury “A lot of harassment has been seen, we want the government to adopt new methods of Revenue collection to ensure money gets to the treasury and officers be trained on public relations” said a trader from Kamukuywa. Unemployment of the youths was also discussed and that it is still a hard nut to be crack and that the county government should create youth incubators where the youth can be empowered to self sustainable and sensitize the youths on how they can benefit from Uwezo Fund and other funds. Bungoma County is endowed with many tourist attraction sites such as Mt. Elgon national park, Mt. Elgon forest reserve, Chepkitale forest, Nabuyole and Malakisi falls, Sang’alo, Musikoma and Kabuchai hills, Caves at Kitum, Mackingeny, Ngwarisha, Chepnyali and Kiptoro where they informed the county governments to continue preserving and promoting these sites to create business opportunity. They also called on the local institution or contractors to be given priority in securing tendering opportunities saying most tenders were given to the institutions outside the county like the purchase of school equipment, supply of cereals among others and said that the county government should create tendering board that enlists all shortlisted applicants for transparency and priority to be given to local institutions. Addressing the same meeting Bungoma county governor Kenneth Lusaka said that the county government has subsidized fertilizer and will also distribute to the vulnerable for free and that there is need to incorporate the farmers organizations in identifying the vulnerable farmers “we are looking forward to giving free fertilizer to more than 200 farmers who are vulnerable in every ward in the county.” He said. Governor Lusaka also said that the tomato industry in Kimilili and the maize plant in Tongaren will be operated by the private sector “Very soon we are going to have a Coca cola plant here in Bungoma and a know that will spur so many economic activities including creation of jobs to our people.” He added. He said that the county government has set aside 10 million shillings to support dairy sacco in Kitinda to ensure the safety of milk market that is wanting and that most of the marketed milk is contaminated with formalin, hydrogen peroxide, blue band and that it is brought in from neighboring counties. “We will see what we can do to make sure we support dairy saccos like the Kitanda, Ndalu, Naitiri, Kaptama, Kikai by establishing strong memorandum between the producers and processors.” He said. He noted that the county government is looking for a land for industrial park for investments and that he will put up flood lights in every market for a 24hrs economy to business persons. He called on the locals to take loans so that they can start businesses that will improve the economy of the county “Our people fear taking loans because of the past experiences we have 5.2 million shillings allocated to those who will want loans and that is why the county has sent out a team to every ward to do capacity building on entrepreneurship.” He said. Story by Nebert Wafula, Journalist West FM

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