Road­way project helps agri­cul­ture to thrive

China Daily European Weekly - - Business -

Chi­nese com­pany makes in­roads in ru­ral Kenya by build­ing key in­ter­na­tional link for farm pro­duce

mar­kets are also sprout­ing up along the high­way, of­fer­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties to young peo­ple.

“The road has also trig­gered the re­ju­ve­na­tion of once-mori­bund and sleepy trad­ing cen­ters, in ad­di­tion to mak­ing them cos­mopoli­tan. Land prices have tripled in the re­cent past,” says Emuria.

Trans­porta­tion costs, es­pe­cially by mo­tor­cy­cle — the most pop­u­lar mode — have dropped, and dust-re­lated con­di­tions like asthma and pneu­mo­nia are fall­ing be­cause of the mod­ern road. Trav­el­ing times have been re­duced by more than half, says Ch­wele-Kabuchai ward Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gen­trix Nasimiyu Ndinyo.

Job Wab­wile, leader of a lo­cal mo­tor­cy­cle as­so­ci­a­tion, says work se­cu­rity along the stretch of road has im­proved. “Our main­te­nance costs are cur­rently low, and I must say our busi­ness is boom­ing,” he says.

How­ever, the project has not been with­out chal­lenges. Dur­ing its early stages, work was slowed by dis­agree­ments be­tween the lo­cal community and the Chi­nese con­trac­tors. Lo­cal lead­ers and the com­pany in­ter­vened and the is­sues were ef­fec­tively ad­dressed, says Bun­goma West Deputy County Com­mis­sioner Daniel Ku­rui.

Good re­la­tions were strength­ened when the lo­cal peace and se­cu­rity com­mit­tee pro­vided se­cu­rity for the con­trac­tors and helped curb fu­el­si­phon­ing, which was hurt­ing op­er­a­tions.

The Chi­nese com­pany has strength­ened its lo­cal en­gage­ment by sup­ply­ing clean water to schools dur­ing the dry months of the year. It has also im­proved road ac­cess to the Sirisia Tech­ni­cal Train­ing In­sti­tute and Sirisia Sub­county Hospi­tal.

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