Narok to get first frozen French fries plant

A KSh1.02b frozen potato chips factory will be set up in Narok, after the county government signed a deal with Upland Crops.

The deal was struck at the Narok Investors’ Conference held on December 3-4, and aims at bridging the local and international demand for potato chips.

Upland Crops is a subsidiary of the United Millers Group, which has been in business in Kenya since 1977.

Consumption of potato chips in East Africa has been on an increase due to the rapid urbanisation.

Demand

The proliferation of fast-food restaurants and a change in eating habits among both high- and low-income groups in urban areas has increased the demand for potato chips, also known as French fries, by 10-17 per cent annually.

However, commercial processing of potatoes into chips has been slow in growth, forcing most restaurants and hotels to either make their own chips or import from Egypt, Belgium, The Netherlands and South Africa.

For manufacturers, chips production holds the potential to profits of up to US$200 (KSh20,000) for every 100kg produced.

This is part of the earnings that Upland Crops is eyeing, even as it creates 100 new jobs in the county.

Currently, 175,000 acres of land in Narok is available and suitable for potato cultivation with the average annual production being approximately 110,000MT.

The forum

A total of Sh54.7b in investments, spanning across Agriculture (Sh28.35b), Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism, was confirmed during the December 3-4 summit. The new projects are estimated to bring a total of 3825 new jobs.  

A further Sh132b investment, attached to 4750 new jobs, is in negotiation.