Reprieve for barley farmers as exporter steps in

The barley market is bound to grow after the Narok County government and SAMM Ventures signed a deal for the establishment of a KSh24b exports firm of the cereal in the region.

The deal formed the majority of the KSh28.3b investments signed during the first Narok investors’ conference held on December 3-4.

Narok has been one of the main barley cultivation hubs in the country, supplying the East African Maltings Ltd (EAML).

EAML, however, cut its buying capacity to 47,000 tonnes in 2015 from 67,000 tonnes in 2014.

EAML is the main supplier of barley to East Africa Breweries Ltd, but it has been struggling to get rid of purchased barley even as the market moves to other cheaper options for brewing like sorghum.
 “We had a target of 55,000 tonnes last year but in the February/March season, we received 67,000 tonnes, which we still have in our stores,” EAML General Manager Laurence Maina said.
But the deal between Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, and SAMM promises better tidings for the region’s farmers, who will now have a bigger market for their produce.

The SAMM operation in Narok will further create jobs for more than 500 people.

The conference

A total of KSh54.7b in investments, spanning across Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism, was confirmed during the conference. The new projects are estimated to create a total of 3,825 new jobs.  

A further KSh132b investment, with the promise of 4750 new jobs, is in negotiation.