By Halima Kahiya
Taxpayers stand losing upto Sh400 million, after the closure of Lambib Gum and Resin factory, just a few months after it was commissioned early this year in Wajir county.
The resin and gum project was funded through Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority under the Ministry of Regional Development. The Sh400 million facility was expected to change the fortunes of people in Wajir, Isiolo and Samburu Counties.
Speaking after officially commissioning the factory, EastAfrican Community & Regional Development CS Adan Mohamed said the factory is going to process gum resins and the other products that are predominantly found in counties in northern Kenya.
“The Gums and Resins Factory is a landmark project with the objective of providing the opportunity for value addition of the gums and resins, generate revenues, create employment and economically empower local communities living within the seven gums and resins producing counties of Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and parts of Meru,” said Mohamed.
The dreams of the local gum and resin producers were shattered after the closure of the factory.
“This is a lost opportunity for us as producers of Gum and Resin in Wajir,I had the dream of planting more trees to get more production but now the factory has been closed without informing us”, says Mr.Sharif Abdi , a gum and resin producer.
After harvesting, the producers sell it to witty middlemen at Sh500 per kilogramme. The middlemen then export it or retail the product at Sh700 per kilogramme.
Income from gums and resin in Wajir County increased by 80% to Sh9 million in 2022, compared to Sh5 million earned in 2018. The increase can be attributed to the initiative of the Lambib Gum and Resin factory.
According to the United Nations COMTRADE database, Kenya Exported lac, gums, resins worth Sh1.2 billion in 2022 to Asia and the Middle east.
Image: The gum and resin factory in Wajir. Source: The Star
This story was produced by Wajir Community Radio in partnership with Code for Africa, Kenya Community Media Network and the Catholic Media Council with support from the German Cooperation as a part of the Our County Our Responsibility project.