Nyandarua Governor H.E. Daniel Waithaka Mwangi has launched the construction of a Sh150 million pack-house and cold store for use by horticultural producers across the county.
The pack-house with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes is being constructed in Ol’Kalou town and is expected to be operational in the next eight months. It will occupy part of the land set aside as ol’Kalou showground.
The launching ceremony was witnessed by hundreds of farmers drawn from across the county and was attended by Agriculture CEC Hon. Agatha Thuo. Other CECs present included Hon. Peter Gathimba (Tourism and Sports), Hon. Charles Chiuri (Roads), Hon. Dr. Peter Mbugua (Health) and Hon. Peter Gitau Thabanja (Lands and Housing).
The first phase of the pack-house-cold store will consume Sh39 million, the Governor said, adding the project will boost horticultural production across the county.
“Nyandarua is renowned for its horticultural produce. Every year, some 30,000 hectares are put under various crops giving us over 500,000 tonnes of horticultural produce per annum,” the Governor said.
He said horticultural sector supported over 100,000 farmers in the county and generated Sh5.5 billion annually adding that it was the third most important sector after potatoes and dairy.
The Governor named some of the popular horticultural crops such as commercial peas, cut-flowers, brassicas, carrots and temperate fruits such as pears, apples, plums and tree tomatoes.
The Governor encouraged farmers to redouble their efforts in horticultural farming, noting that his administration had constructed strategic markets for the crops across the county in Ndaragwa, Murungaru, Oleriondo in Ol’Kalou and Soko Mpya in South Kinangop.
He said the construction of a pack-house and cold store will boost storage capacity for the crops especially when there was glut to allow for improvement in prices.
“This facility will ensure horticultural produce maintained high quality and safeguard them from deterioration after harvest,” he said.
Besides, the facility would provide farmers and buyers with a grading space so the produce is sorted out on site before marketing.
Agriculture CEC Hon. Agatha Thuo encouraged farmers to venture into export market to realize good prices for their produce.
“Farmers, through their co-operative societies, are free to visit abroad and seek for direct market for their produce. This way, they stand to benefit and earn more from their crops,” she said.