The Plateau State Government in North Central Nigeria, has signed a memorandum Understanding with the Government of Kericho County in Kenya for the establishment of a tea processing factory in the State.
The memorandum of understanding which was signed on behalf of the two governments by the, Secretary to the Government of Plateau State Prof. Danladi Atu and County Secretary of Kericho in Kenya Joess Bett, was witnessed by the Two Northern Governors.
Before signing the MOU, Governor Lalong had taken a tour of the Ketepa Tea Processing and Packaging Company which is the largest tea farming company in Kenya and is driven by farmers’ Cooperative Society.
The Company’s Managing Director Albert Otochi explained that the company was founded by small scale farmers who are the major shareholders and determinants of its day to day running through the board of directors.
He further explained that through the cooperative society, the farmers are encouraged to cultivate tea and coffee which is then bought off them by the company and processed thereby creating employment for the host communities and boosting their economy.
Responding shortly after the tour, Governor Lalong, said the initiative is to consolidate on the gains of his visit to Kenya, particularly Kericho County which shares a lot of similarities in weather, topography and Agricultural endowments with Plateau State.
“We have other products that can benefit from the processing factory which can result in what could be PLATEAU TEA that will make inroads into the Nigerian market” he said.
Governor Lalong also discussed the possibility of training long distance runners in Kericho which has been the base of Kenya’s athletics strength over the years.
Lalong also visited a private diary farm where he was taken round the production line by the Chairman of the Farm Gen. John Koech (Rtd) who expressed willingness to share experiences with Plateau State and indeed other Northern States in modern way of cattle rearing which is not only profitable but a new way of maintaining communal harmony and better utilization of scarce land resources.
The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum was later hosted to a warm reception at the Office of the Governor of Kericho County where members of the County Legislature and the Executive were in attendance.