The Sh15bn East African Breweries Limited (EABL) plant in Kisumu has broken ground and will be opened in 18 months raising demand for sorghum and handing a lifeline for farmers in western Kenya.
“The plant should be up and running in 18 months. We are hoping that the farmers around here will become more aggressive and bring in sorghum and millet we need,” said the Kenya Breweries Managing Director Jane Karuku.
President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday morning oversaw the ground breaking of the factory saying the region is ideal for the crop.
The investment the modern state-of- the art brewery by the East Africa Breweries Limited – on a fifty acre piece of land will create 110,000 jobs.
President Kenyatta made the announcement at State House, Nairobi, after holding talks with Ivan Menezes, Diageo Global CEO, who led the East Africa Breweries Limited team.
President Kenyatta said the investment is in keeping with Jubilee administration’s agenda of creating wealth for all Kenyans by ensuring shared prosperity amongst the citizens.
He said the process is underpinned by the Government’s agenda to empower the private sector to thrive.
“If our private sector does well, that development means that our businesses can invest in new parts of the country, and that they can bring jobs and well-paid jobs at that for our young people, right across Kenya,” said the President.
Laying a strong foundation
The President pointed out that in the Jubilee manifesto launched Monday evening, the Government considered the progress made in laying a strong foundation and looks ahead to the next phase of its delivery agenda which depends on industrialization.
“We know we cannot have inclusive prosperity unless our sons and daughters across the country have good jobs,” said the President.
He said substantial progress has been made adding that since 2013, the country has created an average of 800,000 jobs created.
Ease of doing business
He said through the improvements and expansion of infrastructure and road network ranging from ports, rail and power, the government has eased the ease of doing business in the country.
He said in just four years, over 1500 companies have invested in the country, more than twenty of them choosing Kenya as their Africa headquarters.
The President cited Twyford the first ceramic manufacturing company in Kenya situated in Kajiado, Wrigley’s Kshs 6 billion in Machakos that is near completion and the Kshs 1.5 bilion Bidco factory being setup in Thika.
Other recent investments made in Kenya include Kshs 5 billion Keroche Breweries Plant in Naivasha, Kenya’s first ever private Special Economic Zone in Eldoret with over Sh200 billion in foreign direct investment which will see creation of over 100,000 jobs, the Sh12 billion GZI Can manufacturer in Africa at Sultan Hamud and the Leather City under construction in Machakos which will employ 50,000 Kenyans once complete.
The President said many Kenyans rely on subsistence agriculture to earn a living noting that farming will remain viable only if the country moves from subsistence production to agribusiness.
“If we do this right, we will see a significant multiplier effect: creating employment; raising rural incomes; increasing food security; boosting exports and eventually growing our economy,” said the President.
Objective of agribusiness
He expressed gratitude to Kenya Breweries and other businesses across the country for helping the government in achieving its objective of agribusiness saying the new investment will strengthen the national push for a new, transformative way of doing agriculture in Kenya.
President Kenyatta pointed out that sorghum and millet farmers have collectively earned about Ah 2.2 billion a year from supplying raw materials for making beer; a sum that will rise if they take full advantage of the opportunity offered by KBL.
“Indeed, KBL have contracted about 30,000 smallholder farmers across the country in areas such as Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay as well as Tharaka Nithi, Kitui and Makueni,” he added.
According to projections, the new plant alone will lead to increased utilization of sorghum from the current 20,000 metric tonnes to around 40,000 in the next five years.
“Increased demand for sorghum will see the number of contracted farmers grow from 30,000 to around 45,000. As a result, gross additional farmer earnings are expected to reach over Ksh.6billion annually over the next decade,” said President Kenyatta.
The President thanked Kenya Breweries for introducing safe and affordable beer that has helped in containing illicit brews.
He said the new investment proves that the country is on the right track pointing out that if Kenyans work together the nation will bring shared prosperity for every Kenyan, wherever they may be.
Once again he reiterated the government’s commitment in ensuring smooth campaigns for the country to hold a free and fair election, so that Kenyans can choose their leaders in peace, and then return to the task of building the nation.
Mr. Menezes commended President Kenyatta for his efforts in creating conducive investment environment saying the new investment is a major mile stone for the East Africa Breweries.
He said the new plant will not only create jobs but also have a multiplier effect of growing small entrepreneurs.
Also present were Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, Principal Secretary Patrick Nduati, Special Economic Zone CEO Charles Mahinda, Diageo Head of Africa Region John Okeeffe EABL Group MD Andrew Cowan and KBL MD Jane Karuku among others.