H.E Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ol’Kalau potatoes cold storage facility on Friday, 31st 2020 in Nyandarua County. The facility is the first of its kind with the long-term storage (a period of 3 months or more) designed to employ a temperature regulation system based on mechanical ventilation to ensure that the produce is safe from weather variables, pests and rodents.
This facility is projected to serve over 1000 farmers in the region that is among the largest producers of potatoes in Kenya with an estimated turnover of 5 billion Shillings a year. However, due to poor storage mechanisms, farmers have been incurring huge post-harvest losses from their produce hence necessitating the project. The government also recognizes that food storage is a key element in modern-day food production as it conditions both the safety of the producer and the consumer and is instrumental in fulfilling the demands of value addition and an increased shelf life of the product.
The project is one of the many initiatives by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development through MSEA that will not only ensure an all year round availability of needed food in the wake of climatic fluctuations in the recent years but also enable storage of surplus produce thus minimizing post-harvest risks. This will also fortify the quality of the crop, increasing on a sustainable basis the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs that are engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of the produce. The value chain storage will also contribute to employment and shared wealth creation as well as food security.
This facility will be operationalized by the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority in collaboration with different stakeholders such as the County Government, Food and Agriculture Organization and the local community