The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry has today hosted the Embu business forum & connect dinner in Embu town amid calls for stronger public and private sector partnerships. The event which saw the Chamber leadership pay a courtesy visit to Embu Governor H.E Martin Wambora for discussions of diverse ways the business community and county government can synergize also saw visits to various companies on a fact finding mission to identify challenges facing investors in the county.

Chamber President Richard Ngatia who led the KNCCI leadership team touring the county called on the private sector to take advantage of the Chamber’s partnership agreement with Council of Governors to push for a business friendly enabling environment. Ngatia further called on the county government to construct a factory for bananas which is the county’s largest horticultural produce as well as develop value chains for less dominant crops as Green grams, mangoes, cow peas, kales and animal products such as fish and milk.

“It is worth noting that despite the county having vast irrigation potential only less than 10% of the land especially in Mbeere North and Mbeere South sub-counties, where there is enough and extensive arable land, is irrigated. On the same front various parts of the county other than the urban centers lack access to electricity limiting the chance of industrialization and shortening business hours despite the county being a major stakeholder in the energy sector nationally,” Said Chamber President Richard Ngatia.

The Chamber has also committed to working with farmers of produce such as macadamia nuts and mangoes to ensure they fetch better prices.

“Exploitation of farmers by middlemen and brokers as a result of lack of reliable markets for cash crops including macadamia and mangoes, resulting to low prices, is an issue that the Chamber will take up to ensure our farmers get value for their hardwork,” Mr Ngatia added.

Speaking at the same occasion Embu Governor Martin Wambora said the county was ready to ensure that issues facing the business community and especially farmers were addressed. He pointed out that the county was already involved in the creation of necessary infrastructure especially in storage. Wambora has said he will work together with the Chamber to seek investors for the County industrial park so as to promote industrialization.

“We are delighted that the Chamber has chosen Embu County as the location for their business forum. Embu County will work with the Chamber to open new markets and ensure that our local businesses get exposure to global networks. We will also work with the Chamber to ensure that we can get investors to set up at the Embu Industrial Park that we have set aside 1000 acres so as to increase value addition and reduce unemployment amongst our youth,” the Governor told the business community attending the forum.

Meanwhile the Chamber has signed a memorandum of understanding with Embu University that will enhance cooperation between KNCCI and the learning institution. The agreement paves way for the chamber to help in placement of graduates to companies and for businesses to acquire training from the university.