The Government has certified a Ksh 100 million coffee mill in Baringo County.
The mill is set to improve the livelihoods of local farmers and those from the neighbouring counties.
Speaking during the commissioning of the Cha Coffee Factory at Katimok in Baringo North, Head of the Coffee Directorate at Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) Isabella Nkonge said the factory will improve farmers’ income.
“The new factory will increase income, improve livelihoods and aid poverty eradication for the farmers who used to incur a higher cost by transporting their coffee products to other regions like Central and Eldoret,” said the director.
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The factory cost Ksh 85 million with Rev. Cha Bo Yong, an investor and World Best Friends organization CEO contributing Ksh 70 million and the County Government Ksh 15 million.
Nkonge stated that the farmers will henceforth check on the quality of their coffee before it is processed at the facility that has a capacity of milling 1.2 tons of cherries per hour.
“The National Government is ready to support this project to reach greater heights since it is in line with the big four agenda aimed at putting money in the pockets of local farmers,” she said.
The director called on all stakeholders to develop a strategy for sustaining the mill in order for it to achieve its goal of helping farmers.
Wildlife PS Prof. Fred Segor who was present said the county will improve on the processing of local coffee and encouraged more farmers to embrace coffee farming. He said the commodity prices had appreciated by 40 per cent in the last year.
Prof. Segor also encouraged county governments to put more money in the agriculture sector for speedy economic growth through the export of farm produce. “We are calling on the county government to employ agronomists who will help farmers to produce the best quality farm produce,” urged the PS.
His sentiments were echoed by local leaders and farmers who said extension officers will empower farmers on best farming practices and thus help them increase production.
Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis in his remarks said that the new factory has come as a reprieve to farmers who had suffered for long from middlemen who purchased their coffee at cutthroat prices.
Kiptis stated that the products from the factory will fetch the best prices from the coffee market in South Korea and other parts of the world. “This is the only way to evade cartels and bureaucracies involved in supply and marketing of agricultural produce,” he said.
Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi stated that the factory was one of the projects in the region which will promote economic opportunities.
Ndiritu noted that the mill will improve the transport network within the area as well as create employment opportunities for residents.
The investor Rev. Cha Bo Yong termed the mill a big reprieve to Baringo residents who had lost hope of ever getting an important facility that would transform their livelihoods.
“I am going to walk with you in the dream of transforming Baringo into an economic hub for future generations,” he assured.
Yong further promised to donate 100 coffee pulping machines, a bulk of which will go to the 26 cooperative societies within Baringo and the rest to individual farmers.