The Bondo Rural Strategic Devt Agency

33 mins read

Here are our plans to take us to the next level as outlined in our NGO BORUSTRADA.

I provide this as an example for the models of rural and small towns development that can move the country forward. This is a project we are actually working on as we speak.

Bondo Market Development (BMD)

  1. Building the market infrastructure.
  2. Build the market stands for merchants to display and sell their products. This should be done in organized rows leaving space for customers and traders to move around the market. That starts from the main road in Bondo Town with a lot of traders down to the centre of the market which presently is half open market with structures and buildings in the main market.
  3. Build wall around the main market for safety of traders’ goods stored in the market and to help with the overall planning of the market space.
  4. Build storage facilities for each trader with a stand. The storage can be put in decks with one over the other to create more space.
  5. Work with the national government, the county, the Bondo Municipality and international donors to develop solar powered electricity for the whole market. At a time when the whole world is trying to address climate change it is necessary to try to get solar powered energy for the market.
  6. Health and Safety measures to be put in place. Keep the market clean all the time. Removal and disposal of waste. Put waste containers in the market and arrange for timely disposal by the municipality. Make the market sparkling clean from the road to the main market.
  7. Fire Prevention and fire-fighting machinery to be provided and available at the market. Work with traders and customers on what to do should there be a fire breakout at the market and do fire drills.
  • Bondo Home Farming Outreach.
  • Register all farmers in Bondo area.
  • Find out their immediate needs to farm their land starting from ploughing and water availability for the crops
  • Put vegetable production in the frontline. Kandhira, cabbages, osuga, dek, mtoo, ginger, arrow roots, sweet potatoes, green onions, tomatoes and all of it.
  • Start with volunteer farming projects by ploughing their farms.
  • Develop market manufacturing products from the fruits and vegetables.
  • Provide seeds to the farmers by establishing Bondo Seeds to Framers project.
  • Community Seeding Project
  • Provide fertilizers to the farmers and technical support from national farming experts.
  • Produce “Roast Tomatoes” with chillis. Kenya produced. Have chilli packages for export and local use with that. I am going for it.
  • Bondo Green Project.
  • Start with 1 million tree seedling plan from Nyakasanga farm in Bondo.
  • Tree farm to be mainly fruits, mangoes, avocado, oranges, bananas, maringas, chua,
  • Vegetables everywhere in the small village farms for food and export
  • Plant millions of mambo trees everywhere particularly along Yala river and all water catchment areas in Bondo and Siaya including as fences.
  • Use the bamboo trees as furniture material for beds, chairs, tables and natural decorations all over the Siaya County. Let us build on the Climate Change economy because we have the capacity to do so and it is good for everybody.
  • No piece of land in Siaya county should be without a tree, a vegetable, a fruit planted on it. That will be our climate change and green plan for Siaya people and the country.
  • Build the Bondo Market Bakery Products
  • Bakery is the most basic form of food. You take flour of any kind and turn it into bread and other bakery products that people eat all over the world.
  • Set up two bread flour silos in Bondo Market.
  • Bondo Bread makers will buy their bread flour from the silos everyday. Without silos local bakeries are impossible.
  • Develop safe bread-making bakeries at the market for local use and to be sold to the schools and others who need bread
  • Build the flour silos at the market and Bondo will produce bread for everybody.
  • Bread producers at Bondo market will buy flour from the Silos run by Bondo Market Management.
  • Traders cannot make bread because it is too expensive to buy wheat flow from the producers. The Silos will enjoy the economies of scale by providing bread flour for many traders in the market and the town
  • This plan can turn Bondo Town into a major bread and other bakery product producers. That is what value added economy is all about. You make your own bread and sell instead of just hawking bread from other producers in Nairobi and elsewhere. It starts with building silos outside the market to store the unga for bread makers inside the market. The silos can be set up by the county government because individually it is not possible for traders to set that up.
  • Bondo Market Health Centre:
  • Build a public health centre for the market jus there next to the Bondo football stadium which has been taken over by the market
  • Have the Health Centre available to traders and customers at the market
  • Let the users and service providers figure out the best way to pay for it.
  • Develop preventive care programs on healthcare problems like Emergency Care, COVID 19 Prevention and Regulations, HIV, Cholera and other health problems the Kenyan communities who are part of the market face.
  • Siaya County And Bondo Solar Energy for All (SOEA)
  • Work with national government to bring solar-powered electricity to Siaya County towns, hospitals, schools, markets, street lights and homes of regular citizens who have never had electricity in their lives.
  • Involve the International community in a comprehensive climate change economic project for the good of all. Real and affordable electric power for Kenyans while preserving the environment. Good in both ways.
  • Bondo Beach Front and fishing Industry
  • Make the Blue Industry of trading in the fish industry across Lake Victoria a legality
  • Make fishing safe for the fishing folks and the lake by using electric fishing gear instead of the oil gear used now which pollutes the lake and kills fish in the lake
  • Build safe fishing depots and holding ground at the fishing beaches
  • Build solar powered cooling systems for fish storage at source.
  • Work with investors to build fish processing plants at source like in Homa Bay, Kisumu, Usenge and of course in the coast like Lamu, Mombasa and elsewhere.
  • We are throwing our fish away because we cannot process the fish for export. That is economic suicide. Process the fish, build cooling and storage facilities, package your processed fish well and use that for the local market and for export around the world.
  • We have the lake and the fish, you can’t buy that but we have to use them both wisely for economic development in the region and beyond.
  • Invest in fish farming one of the fastest growing food industries in our country.

Example: St Lawrence Market in Toronto.

This is St. Lawrence Market in Toronto one of the oldest and most loved farmers market in Canada. It is right next to where I live. You can get anything and everything from that market and they are just completing a new state-of-the-art market next.

Inside the market is a complete food production and processing industry and you can get anything from there.

They are just finishing a new St. Lawrence Market so they can have two of them. One built more than 100 years ago which is a modern-day market and food production centre and then they are putting up this crazy one next to the old one.

It is a farmer’s and food market in the biggest city in Canada and they have proved why the country needs what they provide to farmers and to consumers of food in Canada.

Inside St. Lawrence Market is a food industry for everything you need to eat and the traders have perfect outlets for their products. The emphasis is on locally produced food products all over Canada. If you want the best fish in Canada you go there. If you want the best fruits and vegetables you know where to go.

BORUSTRADA plans to build a market like this in Bondo town from our own market which has been around for over 60 years. And this can be extended to all Siaya municipalities.

Kenyans should build markets like this all over the country because they are basically food production industrial complex that helps farmers process and sell their stuff and they are excellent for the customers and food buyers.

Let us produce our food, keep it safe for us to eat, process it, market it, and build our economy of people who have food to produce to eat, and sell. We can’t possibly be wrong with that. Can we?

New facility to reduce post-harvest fish loss

Two state agencies and a German company unveiled a solar drying-cooling system for small-scale fishermen along the coast to help them reduce post-harvest losses.

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), Innotech and Fraunhofer from Germany, and the Technical University of Mombasa TUM are leading the project.

The project will assist fishermen in Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu, and Kwale counties in selling their catch at a profit because they will be able to store the fish for an extended period of time while looking for markets. 

Around 48 Beach Management Units (BMUs) ranging from Lamu to Vanga and LungaLunga will benefit.

To produce ice and dry fish, a portion of the project has already been installed in Mwazaro, Pongwe-Kidimu, and Lunga Lunga Kwale County.

The solar cooling and drying project, according to KIRDI’s lead researcher, Linus K’Osambo, is completely off the grid and targets small-scale fishermen in remote areas who operate from small-scale landing sites.

With a fish deficit of over 300 tonnes in the country, no fish should go to waste, said K’Osambo, adding that the project will aid in preserving the harvest.

“The project was designed to intervene and prevent post-harvest losses of fish, especially given that we are having a fish production deficit. So we’re not supposed to lose any fish that we farm or catch,” K’Osambo said.

According to him, the project is intended to produce ice to assist farmers and fishermen in preserving fish as they are caught, as well as shelf-stable fish that can reach inland markets through high-quality drying.

“The goal is to have systems that can be installed in areas where our power grid cannot reach. We plan to build 48 BMUs from Lamu to Vanga on Kenya’s South Coast,” said K’Osambo.

He added that the project would also focus on capacity building and fish handling, both of which are necessary for Kenyan fish to be sold in high-end markets.

“We must produce high-quality fish that adheres to quality standards. So this project is doing onsite capacity building, producing ice, drying fish, and marketing it,” K’Osembo added.

Dr. James Mwaluma, the KMFRI’s Director for Oceans and Coastal Systems in Mombasa said the project will benefit Tana River fishermen who have a bumper harvest of bronze and snappers.

Mwaluma said during the peak season, Tana River fishermen suffer massive post-harvest losses.

He said the project would be beneficial as they seek to introduce mariculture farming (ocean fish farming), with a hatchery already established in Shimoni.

“The main challenge for mariculture production has been a lack of seeds. So, in our strategy, the project will be useful when there are a lot of harvests because it will help farmers preserve the fish so that they can reach a wider market,” Mwaluma added.

Grow food for export for our counties and take the example of Balminder Singh in Gem

Nyabeda village in Gem, Siaya County, is not the typical place where one expects to find a horticulture produce exporter.

Being in the lake basin, fishing is the major economic activity in the area as well as subsistence growing of maize, beans and some vegetables.

But Balminder Singh, a mechanical engineer, has found Nyabeda a perfect place to grow chilli, which he farms on part of his leased 10 acres.

He has planted Demon F1 variety of chilli inside shade nets on four acres. Singh started the venture in May last year after doing market research on the varieties needed for export market and their viability of growing in the region.

“A friend in the UK saw on Facebook that I was selling them. He convinced me to venture into chilli farming for export,” says the father of two, who got export permits from Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and Horticultural Crops Directorate.

Drip irrigation

To start, he bought seeds and contracted a company in Naivasha to germinate them into seedlings for him.

“The seedlings were brought to my farm in Siaya after about 35 days and we planted them sometime in June having used the previous month to prepare the farm,” says the 45-year-old.

A worker dries chilli the produce on the farm.

The crop is grown using the drip irrigation system, where water is collected from a nearby spring, pumped into tanks and released to the plants.

“We have some 54,000 Demon F1 variety chilli plants grown in shade nets. For pest and disease control, we use integrated management methods where we have set up blue, yellow and white sticky traps on the farm to curb aphids, thrips and white flies.”

Singh adds:”Kephis is very strict on the issue of plant safety for the export crop. Haphazard use of pesticides is discouraged that’s why we have employed four people to scout for pest and diseases on the farm daily.”

He had his first harvest in September last year, picking 1,000kg to 1,500kg every week.

Thanks to good farm practices, the farmer anticipates to harvest the crop for up to 18 months.

“We feed the crops every week through the fertigation system. We offer them potassium, calcium and magnesium nitrate. This would enable us achieve the long harvesting period.”

Singh was among farmers who last week saw their fresh produce exported through the Kisumu International Airport for the first time. A cold storage facility has been set up at the Old Kisumu Airport to facilitate the export.

The storage facility comes as a relief to farmers like Singh, who have been spending more to transport their produce to JKIA in Nairobi for export.

Refrigerated truck

“Months ago, I had to take the produce in a refrigerated truck from the farm to Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (Kirdi) plant in Kibos, Kisumu.

Then I had to organise how it would be transported by road to JKIA, which was expensive,” recounts Singh, who employs seven workers.

Kephis Senior Seed Inspector Joseph Oyieko says the launch of the Kisumu cargo flight gives farmers in the Lake region an opportunity to venture into horticulture farming, particularly growing of fruits, vegetables and crops like chilli as well as flowers for the export market.

Oyieko says the region has the potential to produce chilli, avocado, mobydick flower, okra, brinjals or eggplant.

“Farmers need to diversify and grow more crops that can earn them good money. With the right guidance and paper work, it is possible to export our local vegetables for the outside market,” he says.

In the next five years, Singh hopes to have diversified into crops like okra, French beans and brinjals.

“We are also thinking of doing value addition for chilli by making sauces, flakes and powder for the commercial market,” he says.

The big picture will depend on how the counties work together. One of the main problems in Nyanza is how to fully use that massive resource called Lake Victoria which is now being swallowed by the hyacinth.

First and foremost can we just get rid of that hyacinth menace in the lake?

There has been so much talk about it and nothing is being done to deal with the problem. Can the governors in the region get together and work with the national government to get just completely remove hyacinth from the lake which means so much to the people who live there and the country as a whole?

Secondly, Kenya as a country and the governors of the region need to maximize the economic value of the lake. Yes, we have fish production which can be improved by building fish processing plants in the region instead of sending the fish from Lake Victoria to Thika for processing to be exported.

The other big economic value of the lake is in transportation. We have the potential of shipping stuff to Uganda from the SGR system. That has to be accomplished as soon as possible. The other area of transportation is that during the colonial days, there were very good ports or bays all over Lake Victoria, and that made moving people and goods in the region very fast and cheap.

Kendu Bay town today is in ruins because nothing is happening there.

Kendu Bay town was built around the lake transport system through Lake Victoria moving a lot of products from South Nyanza to Kisumu and through the country. Strangely these were thriving means of transport built by the British colonial government in Kenya.

Kisumu port was a big centre of transportation not just with moving goods to Uganda but also within the region. They had another transport link at Nyilima in Asembo Bay in the Rarieda constituency. There were lake transport links to Usenge which was the nearest link to Uganda through Lake Victoria.

Asembo Bay is now dead and gone. These are the real projects the Nyanza governors have to deal with to develop the region.

This is Asembo Bay today which was a thriving town and a key transport connection within Lake Victoria.

It says a lot that the Lake transport system thrived under the British colonial government and has been dead since independence and now Lake Victoria is almost a dead asset for the country. It is just shameful.

If we can rebuild the ports around the lake starting with Kisumu then build Kendu Bay and all the needed joints in South Nyanza and rebuild Nyilima port in Rarieda and another one in Usenge we can establish a system where products are moved to Kisumu from all over Nyanza and Busia county very fast and very cheaply. The lake is there for us but we have to figure out how to build our development plans around it.

Here is what Museveni is doing with the lake on his side in terms of transport while we are sleeping on one of our biggest assets as a country.

I am looking at the possibilities where we build big-time food processing plants in Homa Bay and have those products transported through the lake to the airport for export. Same with products from Siaya coming through Nyilima and Usenge. Those are the things we have to do if we want to think big and stop worrying about how to get Unga every day.

Here is what Museveni is doing on his side of the lake. Can we learn something from him? People are traveling across the lake and they have terrific lake cruisers for tourists. It looks very good.

And here is what the Tanzanians are doing with their part of the lake. How about Kenya? Nothing going on since the colonial government which actually put resources in Lake Victoria for their economic interests. For independent Kenya, Lake Victoria is just about those annoying Luos. That is how dumb our governments have been about such a big asset for the country.

Here is MV Sengerema in Mwanza using the lake for very comfortable transport and tourism. It looks great. Doesn’t it?

In 2009, KIS signed an agreement with the government of Uganda, to manage transport services on Lake Victoria. Both ferries make 10 trips a day, making 4,900 trips a year. MV Ssese is the best model in Uganda and Lake Victoria says John Opiro KIS Managing Director.  

Build food and juice processing factories across the country. It is crazy how we just throw away our fruits like mangoes because they are rotting. When traveling from Kisumu to Bondo at Ndori market there are traders trying to sell you a whole bag of mangoes for pennies because they are going to throw them out if they don’t sell them.

We buy water with fruit taste manufactured in Thika and other places and we cannot process our own fruits into juice and we just throw them away. That has to stop. Food processing can be a big part of Kenya becoming industrialized as a country. We grow a lot of food products and we just sell them raw which has a very limited time restriction. If we can process what we grow we can use the products ourselves and export them. Let’s start with our fruits and process that into juice then we can move from there.

People were very excited to see a new unga-producing factory in Homa Bay. Value addition cannot just be talk and talk it has to be put into action and the Homa Bay governor was doing a great job for the people in the county. We need this kind of stuff all over Nyanza. Turn your maize into unga and then you have a good market for it.

Food processing and building manufacturing industries is the way forward for the whole country. We have the workforce and the skills to do that but we need the planning and resources to make it happen.

The other day I saw something very impressive and as a person who works and lives in Canada which is the largest producer of Canola oil products with all the technology to process the oil from the plants I took it very seriously.

“When I started, I was doing very little, intermittently processing some 60 kilos at a time using a cold presser that I bought at Sh20,000 but when I was approaching retirement, I decided to scale up the venture,” says Njuguna, who once worked at Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) as the engineering manager.

His processing plant hosts pressing and refining machines that cost him some Sh6 million, with commercial production starting in 2019.

Njuguna says the total investment in the business named Elgon Fine Enterprises Limited stands at Sh16 million.

“I am now processing 90 tonnes of canola, sunflower and soya in a year and my goal is to hit 300 tonnes, which is the capacity of our machines. But first, we have to expand the market of the oils and the by-products and refine the system,” says the 63-year-old.

You look at what that smart guy is doing in Kitale and you have a sense we can build a whole canola oil processing all over the country. Get everyone who owns land to have at least one or two acres of canola oil and sunflowers. Set up the processing companies and ask me to get you canola oil processors from Canada and we are in business.

These are the kind of things I am looking at as a 62-year-old dude who should retire in a few years. I keep telling my son here in Canada that I am going back to Kenya and will come to visit him with his family in Canada from time to time. He is free to move to Kenya with me because he has so many friends and family there and they really care for each other.

This is what canola oil processing machinery in Canada looks like and the country is the biggest supplier of canola oil in the world. They also export those processing machines anywhere in the world.

Kenya already grows canola oil but at a very small scale. The whole country is crying every day about how to get affordable cooking oil.

If our politicians can stop fighting petty things and get their act together small scale farmers can grow canola oil, sunflower and we can set up cooking oil processing plants all over the country and not only will we have affordable oil for the country but Kenya can also become an exporter of edible oils all over Africa and the world.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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