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H.E. the President Dr. William Ruto officially opened the Ol’kalou Potato Cold storage facility in Nyandarua County. This state-of-the-art facility has a capacity of storing 100,000 metric tonnes per cycle and is equipped with the latest technology, ensuring that the potatoes are kept at an optimal temperature to prevent wastage. It also has optimal grading and sorting equipment, which guarantees the quality of the potatoes, making them more competitive in local and international markets.

Agribusiness is an integral component of the MSME segment, contributing approximately 25% to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing over 50% of MSMEs. However, the sector is still grappling with numerous challenges, including inadequate storage facilities, post-harvest losses, and low-value addition. These challenges have adversely affected the livelihoods of farmers and hindered the growth of the sector.

In Nyandarua County, between 33% to 35% of the nation’s total potato yield is harvested each season. However, according to data from the National Potato Council of Kenya, poor storage and handling practices lead to a loss of 19% of the produce, which translates to a staggering 815,000 tonnes damaged or lost each year, worth Kes. 12.9 billion, according to data from the National Potato Council of Kenya. The state-of-the-art cold storage facility is now poised to change this narrative.

Further, the facility will be instrumental in securing both the producer and the consumer while fulfilling the demands of value addition and increased shelf life of the potatoes. This is a critical step towards achieving our goal of becoming a net exporter of food, which will create more jobs and boost our economic growth.

The plant is among the three cold storage facilities that have been constructed by the Authority in Kisii, Meru and Nyandarua counties, at a cost of Kshs 300 million. The three projects are set to increase, on a sustainable basis, the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs that are engaged in the production, storage and marketing of potatoes and other vegetables.

In addition to the benefits to the potato industry, the facility is also expected to have a positive impact on the local economy. It will create job opportunities for the residents of Nyandarua County, which will undoubtedly contribute to the region’s overall growth and development.

H.E the President Dr. William Ruto handing over a certificate of registration to the representative of Kaimbaga Potato Farmers Association

The cold storage projects are a testament to the potential of our nation’s productive capacity and the Government’s commitment to creating sustainable solutions for MSMEs in the agricultural sector, especially towards achieving food security.

This facility together with the others two in Kisii and Meru will be operationalized by the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority in collaboration with different stakeholders and the local community. The Ministry is further operationalizing various initiatives to support MSEs in the agricultural sector such as the Constituency Industrial Development Centers, providing access to finance through the Hustler Fund, training, establishing markets for priority value chains, and investing in research and development. These initiatives will boost the MSE’s productivity, profitability, and sustainability, making Kenya a key player in the global agricultural market.

H.E the President Dr. William Ruto accompanied by the Deputy President H.E Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSME Development Hon. Simon Chelugui, Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen, Hon. Rebecca Miano Principal Secretary State Department for MSMEs, Ms. Susan Mang’eni, MSEA board Chairman Mr. James Mureu, Director General Mr. Henry Rithaa and Nyandarua County Governor Dr. Kiarie Badilisha during the opening ceremony.

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