State to set small industries in rural areas

Trade Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The government is working on a plan to roll out a rural industrialisation initiative dubbed ‘one village, one product’, whose aim is to revive cottage industries across the country.

The initiative by the Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, which is also part of the Vision 2030, is targeting to spur value addition and market access for targeted products through youth-led projects.

Speaking during the start of a team building retreat for departmental heads and executive officers of government agencies under the ministry, Trade Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia said the ministry has completed mapping out villages and their unique products countrywide.

He was accompanied by Trade Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Karanja and his industrialisation counterpart David Osiany.

The retreat bringing together bosses of Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Kenya Investment Authority, Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) among others is intended to identify gaps in industrialisation and develop a template for growth of cottage industries.

“We want to attract more youth into manufacturing through cottage industries in every village. We will identify a product in every area and the government agencies will work with investors in developing the idea, financing and ensuring productivity. This will target products that stand out in every village,” Mr Kaberia said.

He said the ‘one village, one product’ initiative will be implemented in the next few months before the end of the government’s administration.

“The plan is to have functional industries in the next 12 months through transfer of resources in the rural areas. We want to have an environment where local people consume what they produce,” the PS said.

In a speech read by CAS Karanja, Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said the ministry is keen on growing the contribution of manufacturing to GDP from 11 per cent to 20 per cent.

Mr Karanja said the government officials would put in place strategies that will provide an environment for cottage industries to thrive.

He implored more young people to start cottage industries saying the government would work with them to ensure they succeed.

Mr Osiany said the ministry was reforming its industrialisation strategy to help revive those hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as attract more cottage startups.

By DAVID MUCHUI

Tendai Mtengwa

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