The county government of Kilifi has partnered with Slovak government to put up a cashew nut processing factory in Mtwapa.
The construction is expected to start in October this year while the completion is expected to be early 2020.
Speaking in his office after meeting the Slovak ambassador to Kenya Fratisek Dlhopolcek, Kingi said the factory is expected to employ 300 people.
‘‘Because of legal issues we cannot revive the old factory, we shall put up a new factory, and the area has been identified in Mtwapa EPZ. We are in the process of finalizing the plans for takeoff,’’ he said.
Kingi said the meeting with the Slovak Ambassador was a review of the progress of the cashew nut revival program after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, through the European Union funding aimed at reviving the industry.
Part of the MOU was to top dress the over 2 million old cashew nuts trees and plant new seedlings.
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Many farmers abandoned cashew orchards after the collapse of the Kilifi cashew nut factory.
Kingi said the county was targeting 900,000 new cashew nut seedlings to be planted and announced that they were almost achieving the number.
‘‘We want to plant at least 900, 000 new cashew seedlings. We could not start the program early in the year due to the failed rainy season. Many farmers across the coast region have shown a lot of interest in revamping the cashew industry,’’ he said.
The county is currently purchasing seedlings for farmers while some individual farmers are purchasing for themselves. Other organizations like AFA are also distributing cashew seedlings to farmers.
On his part, the ambassador said the objective is to ensure the factory produces organic cashew nuts which will have a ready market in European countries.
‘‘If farmers are trained they can get more money. We shall cooperate with them to ensure they are educated. In January we shall open the factory for processing the nuts in Kilifi,’’ he said.
Dlhopolcek said they intend to support farmer’s plant 2 million trees so as to ensure the factory shall have enough raw material.