Kilifi county is endowed with various resources that if well utilized could catapult the county to economic freedom.
With the billions disbursed every year, Kilifi does not deserve to be condemned to poverty.
These resources are God given but developing them needs a focused leader. As it is, this leader is yet to take the helm of the county.
Kingdom of poverty
From the blue economy, Agriculture, mining, industrial development, tourism to culture and talents, kilifi is a sleeping giant that needs a simple calculated pat and all her potential will be awakened.
Kilifi county has the longest shore line than any other county in Kenya. Those privy to the economics of the blue economy, the ocean alone can do wonders for the county. It is worth to note the presidential advisor on blue economy comes from Kilifi county.
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It is sad to note the county has slightly invested on rescue boats instead of fishing boats. This is like constructing a mortuary instead of equipping a hospital.
Kilifi has always failed to set its priorities right so much that at the onset of devolution, so many ambulances were procured to refer patients to health facilities which do not have even essential drugs.
One fully equipped ambulance can employ some doctors and stock a few health facilities for some time. When you add the maintenance of the emergence vehicles to the matrix, you will certainly understand that the county kicked the goalposts to score and not the ball.
A healthy county is a wealthy county. A service delayed is a service denied. Kilifi has projects that were initiated way back in 2014 and to date, they are still incomplete. May be the county is healthy!
One of the well thought projects by the county in the first regime was the establishment of small holder irrigation schemes.
The county established the Mdachi, Zia ra wari, Uhai Marikano, Mangudho, Burangi, Kakuyuni irrigation cluster among others. It is sad after six years of devolution Kilifi still relies on relief food.
Kilifi has the potential of supporting two farming seasons and both can do well owing to the favourable ecological conditions.
The biggest undoing has however been the unpredictable rainfall patterns.
The establishment of these irrigation projects provided a ray of hope to farmers around the projects.
Cassava value chain
Just like a furnace of coconut shells, most of the projects lost their glory before the fifth harvest. It is very ironical when Kilifi demands to manage the mega Galana Kulalu food security project when simple irrigation projects failed under the counties management.
Cassava was taunted as the Kilifi’s diamond. Indeed the cassava value chain due to its resilience to adverse weather conditions, could have solved Kilifi’s poverty.
In serious agricultural countries like Nigeria, the cassava value chain has proved to be a beneficial crop compared to maize.
It is through this realization that the World Bank through the Enhancing Agricultural Productivity Project (EAPP) donated multi-million cassava processing machines for the Agribusiness Development centre (ADC) cassava factory at Tezo M’buyuni.
The county government was tasked with putting up the building where the value addition would be taking place. For over five years now, the machines have continued to grow rust at Mtwapa’s Agricultural Training Centre.
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After years of budgeting and re-budgeting for the construction of the building, the first phase came up in 2018. During the 2019/20 budget public participation, the centre had been allocated Sh20, 000, 000 for its completion. We should not be surprised however, to see the allocation has been reduced or totally slashed.
Private cassava processing plants
Right now foreign investors have seen the cassava potential in Kilifi and about three private cassava processing plants are coming up in Magarini Sub County.
This has raised the fears of exploitation of farmers by the private factories.
In the previous regime, the county made a commitment to revive all the once vibrant cattle dips and put up new ones.
The attempt to revive the old ones was made but none of them is in use now. Because these cattle dips were abandoned years ago, most of them now are within residential areas making it hard to take livestock there, a little public participation would have helped.
The livestock research centre at Bamba is still unutilized. Kilifi is great.