Switzerland-based New Ventures, through its food and beverage subsidiary Kingdom Foods, has announced plans to set up a potato processing factory in Kenya, to be located in Elgeyo-Marakwet at a cost of Sh1 billion (US$10 million).
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.
“The factory will give a sustainable value to our customers, shareholders and associates,” says Sialo Kimiring, Kingdom Food business development manager. “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.
Elgeyo Marakwet produces an average of 300,000 tonnes of potatoes annually.