Political leaders in Kilifi have embarked on a fresh push to ensure value addition for natural resources and agriculture produce in a bid to reduce poverty and overreliance on relief food supplies.
The leaders want processing of minerals and cashew nuts to be done in the area to create jobs and increase incomes for residents.
Led by Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) Parliamentary candidate Ken Tungule, the leaders said they will push for value addition of manganese and other minerals available and also establishment of a cashew nut processor in the area.
Speaking during the launch of his manifesto in Ganze town, Tungule pledged to streamline the bursary fund and ensure children from poor family background access education in the area.
He noted that many secondary students in Ganze Sub County drop out due to lack of fees while most schools lack laboratories and other equipment.
On food security, he said he would push for the construction of the Rare dam that was in the government proposals since the tenure of the late President Mwai Kibaki and other resources for domestic use and agriculture.
He stated that drilling dams aimed at developing agriculture was the only solution to the problem and finding a lasting solution to the famine and hunger which has drastically affected Ganze Constituency Residents.
Tungule argued that residents do not reap maximum benefits from manganese as seven tonnes of the raw materials is collected from the quarry at Sh.2000 and sold at over Sh1 million after being refined outside Kilifi county.
Similarly, he noted that raw cashew nuts are bought from farmers Sh25 per kilogram and sold at Sh 3000 after being processed in Thika, Kiambu county.
“If we want to transform the economy of Ganze and Kilifi county, we must ensure our natural resources and agricultural produce are processed on site just like titanium in Kwale county. The community should also get good returns from the mining activities taking place in this area,” he said.
The county is also rich in barytes, titanium, silver, gypsum, lead, rubies, limestone and pozzolana among others.
Tungule who was flanked by members of county assembly, aspirants and religious leaders also noted that ballast from the areas was used to build a stadium in South Africa prior to the 2020 World Cup and also the Oliver Tambo international airport in that country as well as Lamu port but quarry owners and Ganze residents have remained poor.
He said second Mzima and Baricho pipelines should supply water to Ganze once implemented to end a perennial crisis.
He also called for investment in abattoirs in Bamba area to serve the livestock farmers as well as export processing zones (EPZ) to create employment opportunities for locals.