, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – The government has awarded Japanese conglomerate, Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) the contract to establish the first ever fertiliser factory in Kenya.
Making the announcement on Tuesday, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei said TTC emerged the best after a thorough procurement process that took close to a year.
Marubeni Corporation, also from Japan had also expressed interest in investing in the project.
Koskei said Toyota Tsusho Corp has already secured over Sh103.6 billion ($1.2bn) from a reputable bank in Japan which will cater for all the construction costs.
“TTC would like to start with an NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) plant preferably in the Rift Valley region of Kenya since it is the centre of consumption. This shall be phase 1 and they intend to produce about five products which are crop and soil specific,” Koskei said.
The company intends to start with feasibility studies which will commence immediately and end in June this year.
Toyota Tsusho East Africa Director and Senior Advisor Dennis Awori said the firm has started looking for a piece of land where the plant will be constructed.
“We are looking where to locate the factory close to the railway line in the Rift Valley region, depending on where we are able to secure a sizeable amount of land at a good price or good lease,” Awori said, “the search for that land has already began, between Nakuru, Timboroa, Eldoret and along those lines.”
Apart from the fertilizer plant, TTC plans to establish a Toyota Tsusho Academy that will impart skills on fertiliser related issues. However initially, the firm will send Kenyan technicians for on-the-job training to their factory in India.
Awori said once complete, farmers are expected to enjoy an initial price drop of up to 30 percent.
“Yes we will be importing the raw materials but they will come in bulk and we intend to use the railway line in terms of transportation and this will bring the costs down,” Awori added.
The CS had earlier indicated that the high price of the commodity is mostly attributed to the cost of transportation of up to 40 percent.
If all goes as planned, famers are expected to start enjoying buying fertiliser from the plant in 2016.
The project is 100 percent private investment.