Grain factory boosts Kenyan agriculture

Farmers in Makueni County will benefit from a Ksh210 million grain value-addition factory funded by the World Bank through the Kenya Support for Devolution Programme.The factory, initiated three years ago by the Makueni County Government, will be processing beans, pigeon peas, cowpeas and grams and packages. 

Plant Manager Maluka Waema said the factory has the production capacity of two metric tonnes per hour that translates to 32 metric tonnes per day and night shift.

 “We do value addition to the pulses through pre-cleaning, drying, cleaning and polishing in order to produce the best product in the market,” added Waema.

The factory has employed more than 15 people including seven engineers and eight casual workers with more staff expected to come on board.

According to data from the County department of Agriculture, over 230,000 hectares are put under pulse production every year with an average production of 190,000 metric tonnes.

Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana said the project will offer residents job opportunities through the value chain of repackaging, milling and blending of the flour from pulses.

He added that the factory is open for organized youths, women and cooperatives to deliver pulses and grains for value addition before selling them at higher prices at the markets.

Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu lauded the development project, saying the initiative comes as result of good leadership from the county. “This project is as a result of good leadership from Governor Kibwana. Value addition at this factory will enable our pulses to fetch good prices hence reducing poverty in Ukambani,” said Ngilu.

Speaking at the same event, Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua congratulated Kibwana for the milestone development in the area.

“This is what our people want,” Mutua said, “All the constituencies in Kenya should have a Sh250 million factory to process different products in their area to create job opportunities.” (KNA)