28 August 2012

Kenya: Eldoret Farmers' Bid to Buy Corn Factory Fails

A plan by farmers in Eldoret to buy the collapsed Con Products Kenya factory at a cost of more than Sh3 billion has flopped after they disagreed with the owners.

The Minister for Higher Education Margaret Kamar and the director of the Kenya Farmers Association, Kipkorir Menjo had began negotiations on the bid.

Kamar said the company has rejected their offer and intends to sell the land where it is located. "That lands belongs to the government. Let them take away their machines and leave us with the land and the buildings", Kamar told Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was in Eldoret. She said farmers will use the assets to start their own milling company through a co-operative society.

Raila said he was involved when the company was put up and will ensure the assets revert to the farmers. He added that the government will help farmers set up the milling plant. CPK, which has been buying 700,000 bags of maize from farmers each year, collapsed last month.

More than 500 employees were left jobless and some 5,000 people, who rely on the company directly and indirectly, have been affected by the closure. The factory's Vice President, Alan Bradley, said harsh economic times, which increased operational costs, forced them to shut down.

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