KENYA – The Uasin Gishu county government, in collaboration with the British High Commission, has secured a substantial investment of KES 302 million (USD 3.05 million) in a move to stimulate economic growth and attract foreign investment.

The investment, facilitated through the Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) program, aims to establish a state-of-the-art packing house for avocado, passion fruit, and edible oil production exports.

The county’s efforts to showcase investment potential received a significant boost during a visit by Dr. Dominic Biwott, the North Rift Advisor Program of the British High Commissioner, and representatives from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC).

The visit was a crucial step in discussing the investment opportunity and solidifying the partnership.

Expressing his excitement about the groundbreaking initiative, Governor Dr. Jonathan Bii Chelilim highlighted the importance of the investment for local avocado farmers, stating, “We now have an investor committed to establishing a packing house for the export of avocados and passion fruit, as well as edible oil production.”

He also assured the continued support of his administration, ensuring that farmers receive the necessary support, including seedlings, to maximize the success of this venture.

During the visit, it was revealed that Fresh Product, a company meticulously identified through a market sourcing exercise by PWC, is set to commence operations in Eldoret within the next six months.

Dr. Bii emphasized that this initiative is part of a broader program seeking investors for the Maize Milling and Potato Cold Store sectors within the county, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to economic development.

Expressing gratitude for the collaborative efforts, Dr. Bii acknowledged the British High Commission, the Sustainable Urban Economic Development Program, and PWC for their pivotal role in bringing this investment to fruition.

This significant development aligns seamlessly with recent strides in Kenya’s agricultural sector, particularly the avocado industry.

Coinciding with this announcement, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), through the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD), officially declared the commencement of avocado harvesting for export starting March 1, 2024.

This declaration follows the closure of the previous harvesting season and export by sea of avocados for the 2023/2024 fiscal year on November 3, 2023.

The decision to close the season temporarily was based on an extensive field survey conducted between January 7th and 12th, 2024, assessing maturity indices and fruit volumes in major production zones.

Initially indicating insufficient quantities, subsequent reports from the Directorate revealed a significant improvement in the maturity of avocado fruits in key production zones, prompting the reopening of the export season.

Exporters are required to apply for inspection by AFA-HCD inspectors at least three days before shipment to ensure the quality and compliance of the exported produce.

These dual announcements mark a positive turn for Kenya’s avocado industry, reflecting both local and international efforts to enhance the sector’s growth, create jobs, and boost the economy.

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