The county government of West Pokot through the Department of Trade and Industry is looking at the prospects of investing in industry as a holistic approach to arrive at collective development of the county. It is such prospects for a better economy that led a delegation from the Department of Trade on a benchmarking trip to Makueni County, which has been known as a county of firsts; being the first to sell branded milk and process mangoes.
Led by the CECM Augustine Monges, the delegation which included his Chief Officers Alex Lokimoi-Trade and Industrialization, Linus Losialima- Investment & Cooperatives and Lomut area MCA Jacob Toung'ole among other county officials, visited the Makueni on an inter-county learning and exchange program.
During a meeting with Jackson Katua, in charge of Agribusiness- Makueni County, Mr. Monges said that West Pokot County has a number of things to learn from Makueni County.
This comes at a time when West Pokot County seeks to establish an industrial hub which will play a huge role in boosting the overall economy of the county.
"We're here to understand the operationalization and management of the industries that have been established in this county. We have great similarities. The mangoes that are doing well here will do well in our county."
Mr. Monges further said that the county will carry out a feasibility study before establishing the industry sector.
"We need to do this right. We start here; learning from best practice."
Mr. Katua on his part said that the Mango plant was established as a result of the losses farmers incurred from lack of market and exploitation from middle men.
“This Mango plant offered alternatives to our farmers. The plant has helped curb 40 percent of post-harvest fruit waste that farmers used to grapple with in the past.
We’re currently exporting to Dubai, which means more returns to our farmers.”
While pointing out that the plant was a good investment for the county, Mr. Katua maintained that it is important for counties to research on market availability before embarking on an investment with high return expectations.
He also said that such projects need enough funding to ensure success and sustainability.
Chief Officers Lokimoi and Losialima concurred with him saying that the department of trade will ensure that studies are carried out to ensure success of the industries that will be established in the county.
With value addition, curbed waste and stabilized prices, the value of the mango sector in Makueni is projected to increase immensely from the current KES 3Billion.