Transmara Sugar cane crane
By AMOS SANINGO ROLEX
Transmara region is slowly becoming the hub of industrialization with national and international companies spurring growth in the region.
Located in Narok County in the former Rift Valley Province, the region has attracted a number of investors in farming, tourism, mining and housing sectors.
It is divided into two sub counties; Transmara West and Transmara East. Transmara west capital town is Kilgoris while Transmara East capital is Dikirr.
Dikirr is relatively young in development, compared to Kilgoris.
Transmara refers to the territory “across the Mara River” from the perspective of the rest of Narok County. The term “Transmara” is still used to refer to the geographical area.
The Mara Triangle (part of the Maasai Mara National Reserve) is located in Transmara West.
Divided from the rest of the Maasai Mara National Reserve by the Mara River, the Mara Triangle is endowed with many game animals grazing on the plains and between the volcanic hills that distinguish this corner of the Mara.
There is only one lodge inside the Mara Triangle – Mara Serena – and only one camp – Little Governors. There are camps outside of the area (the official perimeter of the Mara Triangle) which also do their game drives inside the Mara Triangle: Mara Engai Wilderness lodge, Kichwa Tembo, Bateleur Camp, Mara Siria, Kilima Camp and Mpata Safari Club.
The Mara Triangle is easy to access by plane with its two airstrips (Serena airstrip and Kichwa Tembo aistrip) and with daily scheduled flights connecting the Mara Triangle with other parks and reserves in Kenya, the Kenyan coast (Mombasa, Diani, Malindi) and Nairobi (Jomo Kenyatta airport or Wilson airport).
It is also reachable by road.
A few kilometers from the Mara Triangle is Lolgorian Town. The town is home to gold mines and has grown at a tremendous rate due to the thriving business.
It is said millions of shillings exchange hand daily among gold miners and traders.
In the heart of the town is Kilima pesa. The gold plant has drawn the attention of former Mining Cabinet Secretary Mr Najib Balala who expressed pleasure in the functions of the company.
Last month, Mining Cabinet secretary Mr Dan Kazungu toured the plant.
“The government will ensure locals benefit more from the investment,” he said.
Besides the multi-million firm, there are thousands of small miners who benefit directly from the gold mines.
Mr Saruni Kinyari, a local says, “Before gold was discovered on our land, our town was little-known. At least we now have something to be proud of,” he says
Mr Simon Jaramba, the Chairman of Lolgorian Small Gold Miners Association, says gold mining in Transmara is a source of livelihood for many families.
“Kenyans of all walks are able to earn a living here. We cannot complain much,” he says.
At Enoosaen town lies another multi-million company. Transmara Sugar company is rated among the best performing sugar factories in the country.
The company has helped change the face of Transmara with hundreds of locals benefiting from job opportunities.
Enoosan town is now beaming with permanent houses, petrol stations, constant water and electricity supply, improved security and a tarmacked road leading to the factory.
The company has also led to improved infrastructure in the sugar belt region with major and feeder roads being opened up to ease transportation of sugarcane. The Kilgoris-Enoosaen road and the Enoosaen-Kiango roads are now passable.
Mara Tea factory has also been started at Shankoe along the Narok-Kisii border. Tea farming will supplement sugar farming in the region, giving farmers more opportunities to reap from.
Introduction coffee in the region is on-going on a pilot basis, a number of farmers have already planted the crop with assistance from coffee research institute. It is hoped that growing of the crop in the region will add to the crop farming diversification strategy being advocated by the governor of narok.
Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella says there is nothing as good as a population that is economically empowered.
“I rejoice when I see my people able to earn genuinely,” he says.
Notable too is Keyian group ranch which is a perfect example of a successful cooperative. Most group ranches in Narok have been marred with infightings which have paralyzed development.
Keyian group ranch boasts of successful dairy farming and even processes milk as a value addition measure of its products.
Through the venture, the group ranch members have been able to invest in housing projects in Kilgoris town and beyond.
Besides, Narok County government and Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority have helped boost dairy farming by stationing milk cooling plants in strategic areas.
Narok Governor Samuel Tunai says the milk cooling plants offer a ready market for the dairy farmers.
“We should shift from traditional pastoralism to modern dairy farming where a single cow can produce over 40 litres of milk,” he says.
According to Joseph ole Sarisar, a strategy expert, there is need for the county government to develop an economic investment blue print for the region to attract and guide further investment, he further states there are ready investment opportunities in the region, these include; milk processing, business incubation centers, forward and backward integration in the sugar processing sector, value addition in horticulture, organizing and commercializing bee keeping.
To address the challenge of skill labor Sarisar poposes establishment of a Technical Training Institute and a farmers training center.
Last month, ENSDA officially opened a milk coolant and water project worth Sh 40 million at Nkorienito area.
The Managing Director Sammy Naporos said the regional authority will continue partnering with other institutions to boost development in Transmara.
Horticulture farming is also a promising venture in Transmara.
With the plenty of rainfall, good fertile soil and favorable climatic conditions, Transmara is ideal for vegetables, maize, beans among other crops.
Traditional vegetables like managu and saga sold in big towns like Nairobi and Kisumu originates from the region.
A multi-million market in Kilgoris Town built by Narok County government is another major project that will boost the economy of the region.
The formerly economic stimulus market had stalled for several years but Narok Governor Mr Samuel Tunai moved in to end the trader’s plight by ensuring its completion.
Kilgoris Town is also the home of one of the biggest building in Narok County namely Lenamo Springs.
Although it is a private investment, the building which houses Kenya power Company, the office of the Public Prosecution among other offices is a land mark development in the town.
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