More than 6,000 farmers in Kwale County have received a major boost after Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya announced that a multi-million fresh produce market will be opened before June this year.
The Sh120 million Kombani fresh produce wholesale market, which will be the largest in Coast region after Kongowea market in Mombasa, is set to be a game changer in the local economy serving local farmers, 1,000 traders and 75 wholesalers.
The new market, located at the junction of Likoni-Lunga Lunga-Tanga-Dar es Salaam and Likoni-Kwale-Kinango-Samburu highways, is meant to create market for farmer's produce and promote trading activities hence boosting the devolved government's revenue base.
Governor Mvurya directed the relevant departments in his administration that include Trade and Agriculture, to work round the clock to make sure the facility is operational before June.
He made the remarks at Kwale Headquarters, where he distributed more than 20 motorcycles for community health volunteers, village administrators, enforcement officers and other county grassroots staff.
The motorcycles included special ones for village administrators living with disabilities and those of waste management officers.
"My administration will continue to equip grassroots officers including the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) who are a very important linkage as they live with members of the community," he said.
He warned the officers receiving the equipment to enhance service delivery to Kwale residents and warned them against asking for payment from the public.
"The equipment is being given by my government, fuel is from the government and residents should be given service free of charge. If you attempt to charge any local, I will sack you," warned the Governor.
He said that the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Project (Narigp) being implemented in 21 counties in Kenya including Kwale, is a government project, not individuals. It is a partnership between the national Government and the World Bank/International Development Association (IDA) funded project.
"Don't listen to people purporting to own the project for political mileage. This is a national and county government's project," said Mr Mvurya.
Kwale Deputy Governor Ms Fatuma Achani urged the beneficiaries to use the motorcycles for the intended purpose.
"Don't turn these motorcycles into bodaboda. Use them well to enhance service delivery to the people of Kwale to promote the government agenda," she said.
The Kombani wholesale and fresh produce market is set to become a major boost for Kwale farmers and traders.
The market at Kombani is strategically located making it easily accessible both from Tanzania and Mombasa as it is on the highway, and from the hinterland in Kinango and other parts of the country through the Mombasa-Kwale-Kinango-Samburu-Nairobi connection.
The facility is suitably located less than 20kms from Likoni and the multi-billion-shilling Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mombasa, whose construction was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta and is almost complete.
Kombani market will be the second biggest wholesale and retail market after Kongowea market in the nearby Mombasa County.
"We want the market to open soonest possible after postponing the event severally due to logistic challenges.
The market was commissioned in October 2019, whose aim was to also to contribute to easing market access by local traders and fresh produce.