Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has revealed that the government is in talks with the World Bank for Sh5 billion to fund projects targeting counties in parts of the former Eastern and Western provinces.
With only Sh1.5 billion available, the deficit will be sought from the global financier to revive stalled projects and initiate new ones in the two regions.
Munya explained that the projects targeted by the government in western include agriculture with emphasis on the sugar industry and coffee, infrastructure and mining.
These were the resolutions of a joint meeting of leaders from western Kenya together with the Executive at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) headquarters in Nairobi yesterday.
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The meeting was chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa.
Governors Wycliffe Oparanya of Kakamega, Busia’s Sospeter Ojaamong and Vihiga’s Wilber Otichilo, together with MPs and senators from the region were present.
Top on the agenda for the delegation was agriculture with sugar, cotton and coffee strategically being targeted for production in western counties.
Munya said feasibility studies and resource audits are still ongoing to establish the exact amount of resources needed with the final report to be presented to the National Assembly.
“We had deliberations on the key value chains of western Kenya - sugar, coffee, and cotton. And we have briefed the leaders on the progress we have made in the revival of sugar,” Munya said. “Indeed, we are in the final stages of recommending legislative interventions of creating a sugar board and a sugar levy fund that will make resources available to plough into sugar production.”
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Non-performing sugar companies may be fully privatised and all the accumulated debts in the mills written off.
The CS also revealed that part of the money the government is seeking will fund the revival of coffee production in western as the same revival plans for the beverage production is already in place in other parts of the country.
The delegation also said granite and gold mining and processing factories will be set up to diversify the economic value chain of western Kenya.
“We want to insist that coffee is being revived across the country and not just in Eastern region,” Munya added.
On delayed infrastructural projects, Matiang'i blamed contractors, saying stern action would be taken against unscrupulous firms who spend an unusual amount of time to complete projects.
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“It's sad that we have had to re-commission up to 30 per cent of road constructions in western because a contractor was not able to finish on very flimsy reasons even after being paid in full,” he said.