Nyandarua, Farmers want Midland Vegetable Processing Plant reopened

By KBC Reporter

Farmers in the agriculture rich Kinangop area of Nyandarua County want the multibillion Midland vegetable processing plant reopened.

The irate farmers lashed out at the county government for the current crisis which had seen operations at the ultra-modern facility stall for over ten years now.

This emerged when the farmers and local youths marched to the processing plant located in Njabini town calling on the head of state to help revive the company.

Addressing the press, the farmers issued a two-week notice to the county government to reopen the plant terming the county governor Daniel Mwangi as the biggest hindrance.

According to the local youth leader Patrick Chege, potatoes produce worth millions of shillings was going to waste every month due to the closure of the plant.

He said that the plant which was currently dormant had the capability of employing 1,000 people and storing 18,000 metric tonnes of potatoes.

“This is the only kind of processing plant in East and Central Africa but currently it underutilized and this is due to political interference mainly from the county government,” he said.

Chege said that his life and those of other farmers keen to have the factory reopened was in great danger adding that there were plans to demolish the plant and relocate it to Olkalau.

The sentiments were echoed by former area councilor Jamleck Kagwima who said that the plant was worth Sh1.4B but it was lying idle.

He noted that the government had helped revive sugar industries in Western Kenya adding that farmers from the region should also benefit.

“The whole problem lies with the county government which is opposed to the reopening of the plant for political reasons meaning that farmers are the ones suffering,” he said.

A local leaders Dr Kamau Mwangi said that after spending millions of shillings on the plant local farmers were not benefiting.

He noted that the plant has the capability of addressing the issue of storage and marketing of potatoes in the region a sector that supported over 90 percent of area residents.

“This is the largest vegetable processing plant in the country but farmers in Kinangop are continuing to suffer as their produce rot in the farms,” he said.

One of the youths Isaac Gacheru attributed the high levels of unemployment and drunkenness in the area to lack employment opportunities.