Kirinyaga Business Community Fostering Peace and Unity
By Jacquiline Wahu
According to Kenya Economic Report 2013, by Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research, life expectancy in Kirinyaga county is at 62.5 years putting the county among top 15 out of the 47 counties.
Another report by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in 2017 puts Kirinyaga among the top 10 richest counties in Kenya.
The county has a great potential in business particularly real estate which has been barely explored, with the infrastructural development ongoing including roads and commercial hubs.
Deputy President William Ruto recently visited the county twice in a single weekend with focus on development projects. The visit on Friday 6th April was to inaugurate upgrade of various roads which are meant to improve transport of farm products from the farms.
In his second visit on Sunday, the DP accompanied by the Governor Anne Waiguru, assured the people that the government together with Bank of Africa are working to implement a Sh1.5 billion water project in the county.
Kirinyaga heavily relies on agriculture with an estimated 70% of residents practicing small-scale farming.
“We majorly plant maize, beans, bananas, tomatoes, French beans and cabbage in our small chunks of land. We divide them in portions so that we can plant a different crop on a rotational basis”, a few farmers told Kenya2uhub during a visit in the county.
They added that tea and coffee are also major cash crops in the highlands, while rice does well in Mwea.
The county produces 50% of the rice consumed in the country therefore being the major contributor to economic growth of the county. This has seen Mwea town to be the largest and fastest growing town in the county followed by Kerugoya and Kutus where the county government sits.
At a Business Dinner in Kerugoya organized by The Chambers of Commerce for the county’s entrepreneurs, Charles Njiru popularly known as ‘Mkombozi’ by the residents, encouraged traders to be ready take risks for the growth of their business and the county at large.
Mkombozi is the Director of Nice Digital City, a sh300 million modern complex and the only one of its size in the region. Travelers along the Mwea-Embu-Meru route enjoy a one stop shop for all their needs catered for by Nice Energy, Nice Hotel, Nice Supermarket and Chemist as well as Nice
He also runs Nice Rice Millers which according to him, processes 50% of the rice produced in Mwea.
As he narrated of how he rose from an employed tailor earning sh300 a month to a multi-million business man from an investment of sh2500, he urged the Kirinyaga people to concentrate on development and give their chosen leaders an opportunity to deliver the promised projects.
His advice to the business community was to always pay debt in time for credibility by financial institutions which will give them a better chance to get more funds in future. He termed this as one of his strengths that has enabled him access as much money as he requires to invest in his businesses.
The digital city in Mwea has boosted the value of land in the surrounding, an acre going for sh32 million from sh600,000 seven years ago.
Earlier this year, the governor shared the plans of revolutionizing the four sub-counties into mini cities focusing on each sub-county’s strength.
Governor Anne Waiguru also launched projects in her blueprint including industrial parks in Sagana, housing projects around the proposed Sh19 billion Thiba Dam, wellness centres in Kerugoya and green hubs in Mwea towards end of 2017.
Photos by Tyson Odoo