Roadway project helps agriculture to thrive
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.