By Egessa Hajusu
From Jinja road, as you enter Busia town, opposite Rand hotel, the conspicuous and magnificent and value addition facility humbly looks at you.
Two years now since the sh15b facilities was commissioned, it has remained imprisoned in the gate with no activity taking place there.
The billion value addition plant is a component of the sh24.5b Busia main market constructed under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Project (MATIP 2) which is to help vendors improve their households and fight poverty.
Since the plant was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in December 2020, it has only been tested, assessed and cleared by the ministry of local government’s engineers and its gates closed after.
When requesting the upgrade of Busia market, area leaders proposed the inclusion of a value-addition component since the market is the leading produce market in the region, supplying produce to Kenya, South Sudan Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was perceived that the facility would enable vendors to earn more from their produce after adding value than exporting it in raw form.
according to former Mayor Michael Mugeni.
The facility produces chicken feeds, cleans grain, dries, sorts, and mills in addition to packaging and has a storage capacity of more than thirty thousand metric tons.
For the last two years, leaders of the Western Division where the facility is located and the leadership of Busia Municipality say that the ministry has not handed over the facility to them and that they are not in full charge.
Muhammad Kibaki, the LC3 chairperson of West Division even doubts if the local vendors are united and have the capacity to manage the facility.
He adds, “A section of big people in government could have constructed the facility in Busia, targeting the produce there to use it for their own business, but not help the local vendors”.
“According to what is required from the contractor, our local people here unless they are empowered, cannot run that facility,” Kibaki said.
Ronald Baganza, the Busia Municipality town clerk couldn’t throw more details on why the facility is idle only saying the ministry is in the process of procuring a contractor.
Vendors expressed worry that they are likely to miss the Kenyan market because Kenyans are willing to buy finished products because they are in the same business.
They applied to the government to support them run the facility than giving it to another contractor.