US firms plan rice, avocado plants in Meru

KENYA – Two American investors have expressed interest in establishing rice and avocado factories in Meru. The rice investor from Aviva Company last week toured the site where the factory is to be established.

“The rice factory could start full production by January,” the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries executive Kaburu M’Aribu, said. The plant would be established under the New Rice for Africa initiative which is supported by the World Bank to increase rice production in Africa. It will also make animal feeds.

Unlike Mwea rice which relies on irrigation, the Meru rice project requires less water. Prof M’Aribu said the county government distributed 4,000kg of seed rice last year and it is also expanding banana production in Tigania and Igembe South on a commercial scale.

He said they will support the construction of a factory to process the bananas and add value. Bananas are a major horticulture produce for the county.

“Meru is working on a number of initiatives to ensure it is food secure, create jobs and improve standards of living.”

Ms Dionisia Eruaki, the county agriculture director, said another American investor was keen on processing avacados in the region for making butter. She said the proposed plant would require supplies from neighbouring Embu and Tharaka Nithi counties to meet processing demands.

“We need value addition for our fruit and vegetables. We need an entrepreneur to stimulate more production due to good prices,” she said.

Governor Peter Munya said the county has launched a major campaign to attract investors to the agricultural and other sectors.

August 18, 2014;–avocado-plants-in-Meru/-/539550/2421938/-/14s7mqc/-/index.html

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