The Tannery and Leather Industry at Ewaso Nyiro area in Narok County will begin operating on November 1, 2017, Industrialization and Investment Principal Secretary (PS), Nduati Mwangi has said.
The project is funded by the government at a cost Sh.700 million through Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority (ENSDA) and was set to directly benefit the pastoral community.
Mwangi said the factory would process over 4, 000 tonnes of hides and skins annually for export. It is anticipated to fetch an income of over Sh.180 million.
The Principal Secretary said the project would be a game changer in the livelihood of the locals who possess animals which could turn into economic prospects having the necessary infrastructure in place.
He was speaking Monday when he toured the leather industry where he said the Narok factory was the largest of its kind in the country.
The ENSDA Acting Managing Director, Sammy Napolos revealed the construction of the project that was in three phases is 90 percent complete.
The first phase involved construction of the factory on a one acre land. Phase two was construction of sewerage and water purification plant while the final stage is shipping in equipments from the Mombasa port, he said.
A cow skin currently sells at Sh.150 while that of a goat and sheep sell at Sh.50. After the completion of the project, a cow skin will sell at Sh.1, 000 and that of a sheep will sell at Sh.500, he said.
Napolos said livestock farmers from regions bordering Narok County will also benefit from the project by selling animal skins at the tannery after slaughtering their cattle once the project is complete.
He said ENSDA would be partnering with Leather Development Council, Kenya Investment Authority, Export Processing Zone and Ethiopia who were the major competitor in the industry in Africa.
The MD noted the project would create 300 jobs directly, a further 5, 000 indirectly and help create wealth for the local communities.
It’s strategically located next to the world famous Maasai Mara. The factory will boost the economy of the region as it will produce leather goods, like leather jacket, shoes, bags and many other products, said Napolos.
Ewaso Nyiro area is said to be home to the largest number of livestock in the Northern Mara and largest cattle market in the region but lacks proper infrastructure to support the livestock industry.
Narok County has a livestock population of 1.2million beef cattle, 300, 000 dairy cows, 1.6 million sheep and 880, 000 goats.
Thus, livestock is an important economic resource for the county and the country as a whole. The Kenyan livestock sector employs 50 per cent of agricultural labour force.
During dry seasons, people in the area watch as their animals die, leading to huge economic loses.
Last year, Livestock farmers in Narok County last year earned a Sh.74.3million from the sale of over 1, 485 tonnes of hides and skins.
The main challenge facing the farmers was the low price for these produce where they earn as low as Sh.50 per kilo of the skin or hide. But all this is set to change as the factory will purchase the hides and skins for as much as five times the current price.
Livestock is a key sector in the Kenyan economy as it contributes 12 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or 40 per cent of the agricultural GDP.
Livestock rearing in Narok is one of the main economic activities supporting the majority of rural household livelihoods in food security, employment and income generation. The major livestock species reared comprises of cattle, sheep and goats, poultry and bees.
Source: Kenya News Agency