Kitui County re-defines its development agenda around 5 key strategic pillars

Ms Mary Nguli - Kitui, Finance CEC

By Jane Kasyoka | Mulango

Sat. 17th March 2018.

Kitui County Treasury has prepared and publicized the 1st County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP), hardly 6 Months into Governor Charity Ngilu’s Administration.

The CFSP, dully acknowledges the huge potential in several extremely vital but utterly un-coordinated Socio– economic activities, that have remained in situ, for more than 5 years under the last regime.

To that end, the FY 2018/2019 CFSP, concisely identifies and builds direct linkages between Policies, Plans and Budgets, which once implemented will, over the next 3 years create Sustainable Value Chains from the farm gate to the Market in wholesome to the huge benefit of “Musangi“.

The paper sets indicative ceilings for various Ministries of the county and gives sector priorities that will guide spending over the Medium Term.

The paper, hugely benefited from inputs from members of the public, relevant national government institutions and various stakeholders in the county.

It specifically lays the foundation for the delivery of the 5 Agenda Manifesto of Food & Water; Health Care; Education & Youth Development; Women Empowerment and Wealth Creation,on whose promise Governor Ngilu was overwhelmingly elected on 8th August, 2018.

Looking at the 5th pillar, on Wealth Creation, for example, the paper gives huge impetus to the relatively new, but, now, globally acknowledged “Value Chain Approach”, to grassroot enterprise development.

The Value Chains so far prioritized are the Ndengu Value Chain; Livestock & Poultry Value Chain, the Textile/Garment Value Chain, Mango & other fruits Value Chain, Honey value chain, Ballast crushing, milk processing , soap & detergent making, funirture making, sand & charcoal harvesting; and the pottery & ceramics value chains.

Further, the paper points out that Green grams are one of the main drought tolerant crops which do extremely well in Kitui, despite the adverse weather conditions.

It further states that the county is endowed with vast savannah land ideal for cattle and goat rearing. It aknowledges that livestock produces high quality beef and milk which have high demand and low supply. Madam Nguli further said that the county plans to invest in this value chain by building a modern abattoir with potential to create several hundreds of jobs directly, while supporting many more others indirectly. It is planned that leather from the slaughtered livestock would generate enough raw materials to support a vibrant leather and leather products industry.

In this regard, the leather products, the County Government plans to give first priority will focus, on but will not be limited to leather belts, wallets, hand bags, etc.

However, as a strategic entry point, non leather products will also be factored, as a Strategy of making sure that county residents reap economically from all available opportunities and that we are able to tap various markets and supply different segments of society with different products, say with non -leather shoes for instance.

On the textiles/ garment industry, Ms. Nguli noted that Kitui people rely on clothing from outside the county with nearly all schools relying on school uniforms manufactured elsewhere. This results to direct and indirect export of wealth and job opportunities worth hundreds of millions of shillings.

The Treasury Executive revealed that the County plans to support skills development in this area, provide machines and start up capital to quickly revamp the industry and supply good quality uniform to our schools. “We shall work to ensure that our money is retained in the county to build our people as guided by our Governor” says Ms. Nguli.

On mango value chain, the Treasury Executive says that the county wishes to address the huge losses suffered by farmers by establishing a fruit processing factory and improving the quality of their produce that has in the recent past been greatly compromised by the fruit fly and other diseases.

When it comes to honey value chain, Kitui honey is reputedly the tastiest and is rated as one of the best in the whole world, with some brokers in Nairobi processing all manner of sweeteners and branding it as Kitui Honey. The planned strategy is to ensure that all Kitui bee-keepers (especially traditional bee keepers), are mobilised, organised into Cooperatives, and their honey processed and marketed under the Kitui Honey Brand, with the view to ensuring that the farmer gets value for their hard work.

The paper, further points out that ballast crushing machines will be availed in areas with long range rocks to ensure enormous direct gains to the people around those areas and to support affordable housing and other infrastructural developments using locally available materials.

Also included in the paper is the observation that modern day technology for making ceramics and pottery products is fairly straight foward and easy to learn. This coupled with an emerging middle class and a cancer menace associated, partly, on use of plastic wares will present good business opportunity for Kitui people in this area.

When it comes to soap & detergent making, Madam Nguli says that the county plans to train, equip and support youth & women to produce soap for own use and especially for use in our learning institutions, health facilities and for export to other counties.

In regard to dairy farming and milk processing, the paper notes that there is a critical mass of dairy farmers in Kitui with enough capacity to support a medium sized dairy processing plant. This will be scaled up to support organized groups with a view to establishing a county milk processing factory.

In regard to furniture and brick making, Madam Nguli noted that many government offices, Kitui county included, regrettably buy imported cozy looking furniture, mostly from china. None of these give the buyers value for money, not to mention potential job opportunities that get lost in the process. For that reason, the county plans to to train, equip, support, and profile youth involved in furniture making and in the fabrication business to enhance their chances of expanding their businesses.

On sand and charcoal harvesting, the paper noted that the lions share of the gains from the two critical resources in the county benefits brokers, majority of whom are from outside the county. Madam Nguli noted that with the negative effects of climate change and global warming, harvesting of both is slowly turning the woodlands of Kitui into a desert, hence the current ban. She further noted that the county will continue to protect its environment, support reforestation, preserve the water towers and invest in alternatives ways of earning livelihoods.

More to follow on other pillars.
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