The Coast Development Authority (CDA) has unveiled the first bottled water project in the arid Tana River County.
‘Tana Best’ water is being rolled out at the Galole fruit processing factory located on the outskirts of Hola town.
CDA will be getting the water from River Tana that meanders in the vast region.
CDA Managing Director Dr Mohamed Keinan says the authority has upgraded the fruit juice manufacturing equipment to include a water production line.
“We have injected 7.5 million shillings to install state-of-the-art water treatment and packaging equipment,” he said adding that appropriate planning and research was done to ensure the new product is a success.
Keinan said development projects in the Coastal region are aligned with the national government’s agenda of universal healthcare, affordable housing, food security, and manufacturing.
“As we seek to spur socio-economic development and promote value addition Tana River’s first bottled water venture fits well into the manufacturing sector and job creation efforts by the government,” he said.
Dr Keinan said the new venture into the water bottling business was an attempt at ‘value addition’ since the mango juice processing plant lied dormant especially when the mangoes are not in season.
“The factory has 25 employees and when it is not running during the mango low season they will remain idle and so we had to explore other options to keep the factory functioning round the year and keep employees busy,” he said.
The fruit project which was built in 2012 has the capacity to process 30 metric tonnes of mangoes a day and there are 30 direct workers and 2,250 mango collectors serving the plant.
He termed the bottled water initiative in the region a ‘milestone’ noting that CDA will create market linkages targeting Tana River and the neighbouring Garissa, Lamu, and Kilifi counties.
“We also have a plan to export our new fruit products other than mango juice to the neighbouring counties including Garissa, Lamu, Kilifi, and Mombasa,” said Dr Keinan.
Dr. Keinan together with CDA board of director Beatrice Gambo and Amina Abdalla toured the facility during the new product launch.