The Nakuru County government has constructed a Sh10 million market at Subukia trading centre with the aim of boosting horticulture farming in the area.
The market, which is expected to handle at least 40 tonnes of fresh vegetables, will complement the Kabazi Market located eight kilometres away.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the market which has been fitted with sections to cater for textiles, cereals and jua kali sheds will serve at least 20,000 residents, 2,500 of them being farmers from surrounding areas.
Mr Kinyanjui said the market which is the largest in the Sub County will also serve as a whole sale source for local produce like bananas, mangoes, avocadoes, potatoes, passion fruits, water melons, sukuma wiki and cabbages.
The market is about 22km from Nyahururu Town in Laikipia County which is a major source of farm produce that is consumed in Subukia Sub-County.
Mr Kinyanjui said his government was constructing similar markets in other Sub-Counties to boost earnings of rural populations and minimize exploitation by brokers. Subukia market starts operation after more than a decade of wrangles, which had stalled the project.
The construction of the project, which was commissioned 12 years ago, had been affected by politics and constant change of contractors. In 2008, the then coalition government under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) mooted the idea to upgrade the market, a key economic lifeline of Subukia town and its environs.
Since it’s commissioning, the multi-million rehabilitation project has been dogged by endless controversies that led to its stalling. Its rehabilitation was meant to be a key achievement of former President Mwai Kibaki under the ESP.
The idea was to boost economic growth and lift the economy out of a serious recession that hit the country after the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
However, the project has taken almost a decade to be completed, longer than the multi-billion standard gauge railways from Mombasa to Nairobi which took only three years.
A trader at the market Mr Waithaka Macharia said both businessmen and their clients have been operating in a congested makeshift market with poor sanitation facilities.
Macharia noted that locals had watched as successive contractors and their political allies engaged in blatant looting of resources allocated for the project.
Wambui Muraya a second hand clothes dealer recounted how they had been left to harsh elements of the weather, adding that many times heavy rains disrupted business activities at the premises.