Kisii Governor James Ongwae has asked the Senate to approve the variation of the boundaries of Nyangweta Forest to allow for the establishment of a multi-billion-sugar complex in South Mugirango.
Today, Governor Ongwae appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources Committee to clarify issues in the petition he had lodged about the sugar factory.
The Governor who was accompanied by CECs Moses Onderi (Lands) and Esman Onsarigo (Agriculture), told the committee that the proposed sugar factory would immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of Kisii County.
Committee Chairman Senator Mwangi Githiomi commended Governor Ongwae for the initiative saying there were not many factories in the counties.
Governor Ongwae explained that the County Government had put in place measures to ensure forest conservation.
”We are not doing this without regard to forest conservation. We have identified 13 forests located in different parts of the County totalling 461.7 hectares and offered them to Kenya Forest Service for gazettement and use,” the Governor said.
In July last year, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment in a special issue of the Kenya Gazette Supplement, gazetted Nsaria Hill, Nyangweta Forest, Ndonyo Hill, Ngeri Hill, Ritumbe, Mogonga Swamp, Keboye, Taracha, Nyanturago Swamp, Emborogo, Kionganyo and Nyakeiri in compensating the Kenya Forest Service.
Senator Juma Boy said industrialization was a must if counties were to reduce dependency on resources from the exchequer adding that the Sugar Complex would serve to increase production of sugar in the country.
Kisii Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri who attended the sitting supported Governor Ongwae’s petition saying the sugar complex will be the only factory worth a mention in the entire Kisii County spanning nine constituencies.
He said owing to population pressure and diminishing land sizes, Kisii County would soon turn into a big slum adding that correct planning and industrialization were critical to forestall that development.
Senator Githiomi said the Committee would interrogate the Environment and Agriculture ministries on Thursday next week before visiting Nyangweta Forest on a fact-finding mission.
Once complete, the factory will have a capacity to crush 5,000 tonnes of cane per day and produce 10megawatts of power to the national grid.
An Indian investor, Kanoria Group, has already registered Kisii Renewable Energy and Sugar Factory Company Limited and will invest KShs.5billion to build the factory.