Centum Investment subsidiary Vipingo Development Limited says up to 1,000 coastal residents will get employment in a nuts processing factory currently under construction at its manufacturing hub in Vipingo, Kilifi County in Kenya.
According to the firm, civil works for the Sh1 Billion factory have been completed and erection of the prefabricated godowns is ongoing and set for completion by end of the year.
The project is being set up by a consortium of established international investors in the food processing and value addition sector who have acquired development rights from VDL.
Ken Mbae, Managing Director of Vipingo Development Limited, said the use of modular construction technology means the project will be operational by quarter one of 2022 and have an immediate impact on the economy of Kilifi County and beyond.
Vipingo Development Limited is a fully owned subsidiary of Centum Investment PLC and is behind the transformation of the former 10,000-acre Rea Vipingo sisal plantation into an urban node comprising residential, commercial, industrial, hospitality, health care and school districts.
Already over 400 residents of the initial Awali and Palm Ridge estates within the master-planned development have received keys to their new houses.
The nuts factory will have a processing capacity of more 6,000 tonnes of raw cashew-nuts which will offer a reliable offtake for tens of thousands of coastal farmers who grow cashew nuts as a cash crop.
The packaged nuts will be sold to both local and international buyers with the developers targeting the markets with the highest returns.
Besides signing up coastal farmers for supply of raw nuts, the factory will also be supplied by Vipingo Development’s 200-acre cashew nuts plantation guarantying the minimum supply threshold for an all-year operation.
Job cadres at the factory will include low-skilled laborers to process the cashews, skilled employees to operate the machines and package the nuts, mid-level and senior managers in operations, quality assurance and logistics.
Other manufacturers that have already secured development rights at the Vipingo Industrial Park include a warehousing firm, water bottling and LPG processing companies.
“This is possibly the best place to set up your manufacturing business in close proximity to the port. Investors will save on transport costs for imported raw materials enabling them to sell finished products at a discount to competition,” said Mbae.
The development comes days after the firm the company handed over keys to more than 300 home buyers to their houses, following the completion of Phase 1 of the Palm Ridge Estate in Kilifi County, in the Kenyan coast.
The company handed over keys to the Sh1.5 billion housing estate, which comprises 330 units of one, two and three-bedroom four-storey apartments priced at Sh2.5 million, Sh3.5 million and Sh4.6 million respectively.
The ceremony marked the second major residential estate development by the company, and increased to about 400, the number of home owners within the 10,000-acre master-planned development that has a residential, commercial, school and industrial districts.
“We’re consolidating our reputation as a developer that completes projects on time, on budget and to the highest quality standards and that is why investors increasingly trust us with their money,” said the VDL managing director, Ken Mbae during the ceremony.
The project, dubbed 1255 Palm Ridge estate, sits on 10 acres of land, with amenities such as water, power, state-of-the-art security installations, sewer connection, parking, children’s play area and a swimming pool.
Mbae says it is suitable for residence or holiday home and is also an excellent investment for rental and short-stay vacation homes (Airbnb).
Besides the residential estates, industrial and commercial nodes are under development on the sprawling land that was previously a sisal plantation.
The Managing Director added that Phase 2 of the Palm Ridge estate comprising of 110 apartment units is nearing completion in time for handover to home buyers.
The handover came at a time when the growth of the real estate sector has been described as turbulent, over the past 5 years.