The land lease saga which delayed the start of construction works for Everest Juice Factory in Malaba has ended with the firm set to kick start the exercise.
Everest Fresh Limited Director Benson Bonuke has assured Busia County residents that the riddle that had bedevilled the start of the exercise has now been sorted out once and for all.
“We shall now start assembling machines on site. The construction works will start by Mid April, that is the position. We thank the County Government for spearheading the land lease release,” he said.
Since September 2015 the saga on the acquisition of the land lease had stalled the project with sceptics claiming that the factory had been relocated elsewhere.
Putting the record straight, Bonuke said the new era of fruit has eventually dawned. “We are now ready to contract those who are willing to start planting pineapples, yellow passion, bananas, mangoes and red guava in phase one of the project.
Phase two of the project will entail the planting of watermelons, tomatoes and paw paws among other fruits,” he said, adding that farmers’ recruitment exercise will be carried out at the factory site every Tuesday and Thursday.
Bonuke said the construction works will take at most six months, adding that majority of the employees to be absorbed will be recruited from the County.
He said the company will also recycle all waste that will be generated as peels from the fruits into electricity generation which will light up the neighbourhood and “For our consumption in the few years of our operations,” he said.
He said the company will offer farmers with well trained field extension officers, agribusiness managers who will offer sound agriculture practice towards high yield and high yielding seeds at a fair price to ensure farmers get the value of their efforts.
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said it is good news that at last the national government has released the land lease to the factory which will now pave way for the start of the construction exercise.
He said many investors give up due to delays in obtaining leases or clearance from the National Environmental management Authority. “We need to address such challenges to enable investors not change mind on their investment plans due to such delays.”