The construction of the first ever modern milk processing plant in Narok began yesterday at Motonyi area of Mara Ward in Mulot, Narok South.
The ground breaking ceremony by Governor Samuel Tunai was the week’s big news, made bigger by the fact that it marks the first investment to hit the ground since the county held an international investment summit last December. The summit received investor commitments of over Ksh 503 billion.
The construction of the milk processing plant – to be known as Namelok Dairies – will be completed in 7 months, and will have a capacity of 200,000 liters of milk per day. The 5 Acre facility will also produce specialist milk products such as milk chocolate bars and ice creams, besides the usual dairy products of fresh packaged milk, yogurt, ghee and butter.
The first phase of the project will cost Ksh 150 million.
The advent of Namelok Dairies means that Narok, the only county among the top 5 milk producers in Kenya not to have a big dairy, has now finally come through – after 50 years of Kenya’s independence and just three years of devolved governance under Governor Tunai.
Speaking at the colorful ground breaking ceremony, Governor Tunai noted that there were at least four other investors interested in setting up dairies in the county but the County Government had given priority to local investors. Namelok is a private investment venture by Kenyan investors led by Mr. David Tanki, Mr. Josiah Ntokote and Mr. Kingston Ogongo.
The local flavor in the new company’s identity was further highlighted by an unusual offer by the company directors: they committed to annually plough back to farmers 20% of the dairy’s profits through cooperatives and farmer groups.
The Director of Kenya Animal Genetic Resource Centre, Mr. David Wasike Nyongesa, graced the event and promised farmers a steady supply of quality animal seed to meet the milk demand of the new dairy.
Calling on farmers in the area and across the county to embrace modern, high productivity cattle rearing, Governor Tunai announced that the County Government would subsidize the pedigree animal seeds from the Kenya Animal Genetic Resource Centre. A team of 28 inseminators has already been put in place in every ward to spearhead the campaign.
The governor assured Namelok Dairies of the county’s support in ensuring the success of the dairy – including upgrading of surrounding infrastructure and improvement animal quality – and called on the directors to ensure locals got priority in employment.
Narok has become the third county – after Nairobi and Nakuru – to host a fully-fledged dealership of the American agriculture equipment maker, John Deer. That makes it the first such investment in the South Rift region.
The new dealership is situated at TM, about 4Kms from the Narok CBD along the Narok-Bomet Road. Unlike the 13 franchise shops that sell John Deer products in Kenya, the new dealership is a state-of-the-art affair that will provide sales, back services and training to farmers in the South Rift.
The dealership was opened yesterday by Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai accompanied by John Deer Sub-Saharan Africa MD, Mr Jason Brantley and Mr. Noel Tata, the MD of Tata Africa Holdings. Tata Africa is the subsidiary of the Indian multinational by the same name – and is the sole marketer of John Deer equipment and services in Kenya.
Speaking at the event, Governor Tunai said the investment was timely, coming only months after the county held its first investment summit which raked in investment commitments worth over ksh503 billion – and just three days before a milk processing plant is scheduled to break ground.
The governor thanked the two multinationals for negotiating concessional financing for their customers which will enable farmers to get loans to buy John Deer tractors and equipment at lower-than-market interest rates.
While assuring the two multinationals of his government’s support, Governor Tunai called on them to ensure they gave Narok residents priority in employment, not least because the dealership’s customer base will be local.
Narok County Governor today welcomed Safaricom’s new expansion plan for Narok County. Speaking at the official opening of an ultramodern Safaricom shop in Narok town, the Governor thanked Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore for the renewed faith in the county and called for an expansion of Safaricom's network to cover all parts of the county.
Currently, some parts of Narok such as Mosiro and Loita have patchy mobile network reception.
In his remarks, Safaricom CEO revealed that the new Narok shop is part of Safaricom’s new regionalization strategy that includes setting up of regional head offices and expansion of the 3G network. In Narok, the company has already installed an additional twelve cell sites over the last few months and intends to add two more. Meanwhile, the current 73% national coverage of the 3G network will be raised to 80% by the close of the year.
Governor Tunai later held discussions with Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore at the County offices where the two agreed to pursue a closer partnership. In particular, the Governor called for a more robust corporate responsibility presence by Safaricom in Narok in sectors such as school bursaries, flood mitigation and borehole construction.
The governor also called for the Maasai Mara anti-poaching project of upgrading mobile phone reception in the park – which is being undertaken jointly by Safaricom and the National Government – to be expanded to cover all parts of the county.
Only days after calm settled in the troubled Olpusimoru area, Narok Leaders led by Governor Tunai have began the difficult task of rebuilding the shattered lives and livelihoods of the affected families.
Yesterday, Governor Tunai led a team of leaders from Narok County in presenting building materials to the affected families. Among the leaders accompanying the Governor were MP Soipan Kudate and Nominated Senator Liza Chelule.
As he has done since the outbreak of the destructive skirmishes on Christmas day, the Governor spoke strongly against ethnic prejudice and disregard for the law that was experienced in the area. He assured area residents of his administration’s support and called on leaders and the affected families to remain calm and embrace reconciliation.
Olposimoru is now calm as elders from both communities, backed by the County and National Governments, proceed with reconciliation efforts. The donation of building materials is part of the County Government’s initiative to enable those whose houses were destroyed to rebuild their homes and foster peace.
The Government of India and the County Government of Narok have agreed on a program to market the Maasai Mara in India and boost technical training of qualified Narok students, particularly in engineering, ICT and medicine.
The agreement was reached today when the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E Ms. Suchitra Durai paid a courtesy call on Narok Governor Samuel Tunai. Under the arrangement, the India High Commissioner will support Narok County’s marketing of the Maasai Mara tourist destination in India, including the possibility of roping in a major Indian music or movie production in the Mara.
India will also offer scholarships to qualified Narok students as well as facilitate the County in establishing concessional training arrangements with selected Indian universities. The two governments will also pursue a students and cultural exchange program.
The two leaders also discussed the increasing Indian investor interests in Narok since the County held its international investment conference last month – which High Commissioner Suchitra Durai attended.
Governor Tunai lauded the High Commissioner for supporting the investNarok Conference and noted that almost half of the investors who signed agreements at the conference were from India.
The governor revealed that one Indian investor is set to break ground on January 21 for a 50-bed hospital and medical training college while the construction of wheat and maize processing plants will commence in February.
The India High Commissioner was accompanied by her husband, former Ambassador R. Swaminathan, and their son. The family proceeded to the Mara for a brief holiday.
An update of the Narok investment summit and calls for unity of purposes and objective criticism were the overriding themes at the Jamhuri Day celebrations in Narok.
Also featuring dominantly was the announcement by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai that the county government was fast-tracking the issuance of Title Deeds in Narok town and the Group ranches that are yet to be fully sub-divided.
Governor Tunai led the official ceremony at the Maasai Mara University grounds in the company of County Commissioner Afande Mutindika, County Women Representative Soipan Kudate and Deputy County Assembly Speaker and Mara MCA Joseph Tubula Otuni.
Also present were Majority Leader Stephen Saibulu Kudate (Naroosura MCA) Benard Parsaloi Torome (Narok Town MCA), MCA Rapanke Ole Samante (Ildamat), Dickson Nchoe Muntet (Olorropil), Salankat Memusi Nchoe (Mosiro), Moses Kimutai Cheruiyot (Sogoo) and Rono Luguny (Angata Barrikoi).
As befitting the occasion, the Governor paid homage to the national heroes whose efforts led to the independence of our nation Kenya, and noted that the fruits of freedom in a nation on the right path are security, increased job opportunities, good health and the efficient use of national resources for the good of all citizens.
The Governor recalled that it was now only about three years since the advent of devolution and county governments and the steps that his administration had taken to move the county forward are evident to all because they have been done in the open.
In regard to investments, Governor Tunai revealed that the investors who made commitments at the investNarok Summit of 3-4 December were on course to set up industries at the county, among them an abattoir, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, maize and wheat milling facilities, a dental hospital and solar energy production facilities.
The leaders present touched on the need for the people of Narok, more so those in leadership, to avoid tribalism, work together, and objectively assess government performance as distinct from offering endless criticism that does not acknowledge any development taking place. Narok County Women representative Soipan Kudate termed those who do not concede any development even when it is obvious as people who are only interested in their own personal gains rather the gains of the county. The County Commission weighed in by asking the people of Narok and their leaders to remember that the existing leadership was elected by the people and therefore deserves respect.
Good news: Narok Deputy Governor, Evelyn Aruasa is fine.
The Deputy Governor had a medical scare earlier today at the graduation ceremony of Masai Mara University when she felt dizzy and had to cut short her speech.
She recovered fully within minutes but was rushed to hospital for a medical check-up. The doctors at Nairobi Hospital have since determined that it was an incidence of normal fatigue and recommended she stays overnight for observation.
The eagerly awaited Narok county investment summit – investNarok Summit – that took place on Thursday and Friday is sending ripples across the county and the nation at large.
Virtually all notable media covered the event led by live coverage by NTV and KASS TV, plus multiple live links by Mayian FM. Nosim FM and Kass FM were also covered the summit as did all the national newspapers. The national TV stations carried the event in prime time prominence news, including multiple prime-time news live interviews of Governor Samuel Tunai.
The big news, naturally, was the staggering investments numbers: investors signed up for investments worth $536 million, approximately ksh53.6 billion. The projects in the bag include an Abattoir, wheat and maize milling plant, a solar power plant, pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant and a potato processing firm.
Investors from across the world attended, alongside Kenyan investors and a contingent of Narok based investors. Deputy President William Ruto and Tourism Minister Najib Balala joined Governor Samuel Tunai in presiding over the event. Also present were Transnzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba and Environment PS nominee Charles Sunkuli.
But the Narok investment summit was also notable for the sheer sophistication of the organization. The staging was spectacular, with a digital multiple screen backdrop in massive tents set right within the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
To cap it all, Deputy President William Ruto joined Governor Tunai and Tourism Minister to host a live on TV panel discussion on investments. The arrangement allowed investors to directly engage the two levels of government and get clarifications on the spot – and in full view of the entire nation.
Maasai celebratory songs rent the air at the plenary hall of the United Nations in Gigiri, Nairobi, as Narok First Lady Sarah Tunai received a UN Commendation Award.
The occasion was the UN Day which commemorates the day in 1945 when the UN Charter came into force, leading to the founding of what is today the premier global union of nations. This year’s celebrations marked the 70th universally of the UN.
First Lady Sarah was awarded for her work in support of eco-manyattas, the modernized environmentally friendly manyattas that she has been championing, and her campaign against female genital mutilation as well as her ongoing programme in support of girl-child education.
In a moment that took the UN dignitaries by surprise but which they evidently seemed to enjoy, the Narok County traditional dance troupe, resplendent in Maasai attire, escorted the First Lady to the stage and ceremoniously accorded her a heroine’s reception.
That Maasai touch set the hall abuzz and set the tone for the day. As each of the two other award winners, Bernard Chepchumba and Martha Karua, took the stage to receive their awards, the day’s guest of honor Finance CS Henry Rotich called on the Narok team to the stage to crown the moment. And the dancers, who are this year’s East Africa Community state organ traditional dance group champions, obliged with style and gusto.
Benerd Chepchumba received an award for his work in polio immunization while Martha Karua was celebrated for her pioneering efforts in fighting for women rights through her legal practice and in politics.
The First Lady was accompanied to the event by her husband Governor Samuel Tunai, family members and friends. Also present to support the First Lady were her counterparts from Machakos and Taita Taveta, First Lady Lillian Nganga and First Lady Hope Mruttu.
Among the dignitaries at the event were the Director-General of the UN Office in Nairobi Sahle-Work Zewde, Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro.
The event also saw the launch of the UN70 postage stamp by Stephen Munita of the Office of the Postmaster General.