Homa Bay county has launched a farming project that is expected to create 2,000 jobs. A further 25,000 people will benefit from the integrated agricultural project Governor Cyprian Awiti launched the project on Wednesday.
"This is a milestone project for our county. We are excited because agriculture is the bedrock of our economy. The work has started and I'm asking our people to support this project," he said. Some 200 dairy cows, 120 fish ponds and 60 greenhouses will be set up at the project site at Chuowe beach.
The Sh400 million venture will be undertaken by the county government, Friends of Lake Victoria (Osienala) and private organisations, First Force Business and HPIOceantec. "This project is seeking to mechanise and commercialise agriculture. It will include horticultural production; fish farming, dairy farming and value added processing of farm produce," said Awiti.
The county will allocate 700 acres of land by the lakeside to investors to boost food production. "We have been exporting almost every single foodstuff from other counties. We must start growing our own food both for local consumption and export," Awiti said.
Osianala executive director Obiero Ongaga said the project will involve massive horticultural crop production in the greenhouses on 300 acres. "We shall grow hybrid tomatoes, assorted vegetables and establish a tomato paste manufacturing factory. We shall also bottle mineral water and establish a factory that manufactures empty water bottles," he said.
Former Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo, who was among the dignitaries at the function, praised Awiti for his aggressive engagement with investors.
Asiyo said the integrated agricultural project will greatly change the economy of the county. The project has been approved by the National Environmental Management Authority and will involve environment conservation.