The idea of devolution was a new dawn for Kenya. To a common mwananchi, devolution meant government services moving from the traditional “Nairobi” to “mashinani.”
Despite the numerous mismanagement of public funds by county bosses, devolution opened up amazing investment opportunities in counties.
Bungoma County is one of the 47 counties in Kenya. It is county 039 in the list of counties in Kenya and if you are looking for a place to invest, you need to hit to road to this place.
Bungoma lies in the former Western province. It has a population of 1,375,063 and covers an area of 2,206.9 square kilometers. Its headquarters is Bungoma town. The governor in charge at the moment Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati.
Majority of Kenyans came to know of Bungoma County when it dominated the headlines after it became the first county in Kenya to purchase the most expensive non-carcinogenic wheelbarrows. The first thing that comes up when you Google “non-carcinogenic wheelbarrows” is Bungoma County.
Forget about the headlines and the wheelbarrows. Within this vast and quiet county lies immense and amazing investment opportunities that can easily cut you a place at the dining table of millionaires in this country.
This is a common form of investment in Bungoma County but I can tell you for a fact that people are not doing it the right way. 90 percent of those who keep chicken in Bungoma County do it for food. Very few keep chicken in this county for commercial purposes.
The reason why the majority of people in this county do not keep chicken in large scale for commercial purposes is the general lack of technological know-how. The majority of them fear losses in the event diseases come knocking.
There is an amazing opportunity in investing in kienyeji chicken. Many people don’t like keeping kienyeji because they take too long to mature but the investment is always worth it. Many people in this country prefer kienyeji chicken than any other breed.
It takes four to five months for a kienyeji chicken to mature and be ready for sale in order to fetch good prices. Poultry farming does not require large tracks of land. What you need is a small piece of land, fence it properly, erect structures, partition them and then, boom, you have a home for your chicken.
There are, however, some challenges. Diseases attacking chicken are a common phenomenon in Bungoma County. Chicken is vulnerable and a simple unchecked attack can kill a whole flock within hours. There is a need for a continuous but timely vaccination of your flock.
There are instances of insecurity for your chicken. There are people who have specialized in stealing chicken in this county. Though not common, when it happens, it can flatten your business and in the process, your hopes of making it in the poultry industry. Make sure that your chicken is under lock.
In Bungoma County, the market for chicken differs. You can decide to sell your chicken on wholesale or retail. Retail pays more than wholesale through retail needs more patience. Retail involves selling one or two chicken per day to your immediate neighbors and nearest shopping centers.
Bungoma County used to have a milk processing plant called Kitinda. It collapsed. Since then, the majority of small-scale farmers have opted to sell their milk on retail to their neighbors and market places.
Efforts to revive it are yet to yield fruits and it now handles just a few liters of milk from farmers who still believe in it.
Majority of farmers in Bungoma County keep indigenous livestock for the production of milk for consumption and meat. Few of them keep dairy cows for commercial purposes.
There is a huge market for milk, both in retail and wholesale. If you have some more money to spare, you can start your own small plant that will process milk into various products.
The best place to set up a milk processing plant will be in Tongaren Constituency or a place called Ndalu. This is because there are many farmers in this area who rare cattle for milk and it will be easy for you to get milk from them.
Sweet potatoes are sleeping gold mines in Bungoma County. Residents plant the crop mainly for food. There is a huge market for sweet potatoes if one would choose to do it on a large scale.
Bungoma County does not have large tracks of land and when we say large scale, we mean planting on a one or two-acre piece of land.
Sweet potatoes can be sold locally within the county or to other traders outside the county. What is more, traders will look for you. You won’t have to worry about looking for them.
Very few people rarely talk about beekeeping. Honey is more expensive than fuel. Did you know that? Honey is actually 5 times more expensive than oil.
There is a deficit of honey in Kenya. Currently, one kilogram of honey is going for between 800 and 1,200 shillings.
To start beekeeping, you need to have the right tools to house your bees. Have some trees and plant different varieties of flowers. You don’t want your bees going out to look for nectar. Do you? You also need water.
You can also get in touch with agricultural extension officers who will help you on how you can successfully rare bees and harvest honey. Most people still depend on wild honey in this county, which is rare to find.
There is great potential for Kenyan bee farmers to make money as the country leaks every flowering season with over 80 percent untapped nectar. It notes that farmers are also languishing in poverty due to lack of proper knowledge skills, modern hives, and other essential tools vital for beekeeping.
Believe me, most people in Bungoma County don’t know that someone can undertake mushroom farming and make a luxurious lifestyle out of them.
In Bungoma County, different varieties of mushroom grow naturally, especially during long rainy seasons and the soils are good to support the crop too.
With around 200,000 shillings, you can set up a small structure and start mushroom farming. You can sell it to locals for consumption or apply to supply to hotels within or without the county.
If you are looking to make some money, starting a brewery is a good idea in Bungoma County.
Most of the alcohol sold in this county comes from outside the county apart from the locally brewed “brand” of busaa and chang’aa.
Starting a small brewery that will produce a standard and high-quality beer will give you some good money.
Raw materials are available. Sugarcane is in plenty in Bungoma County given the ailing sugar sector in the region.
Wheat is also available in the neighboring counties such as Trans Nzoia, Kericho and Uasin Gishu.
You can supply your beer to local bars in Bungoma town, Webuye, Kimilili, Misikhu, Kamukuywa, Lugulu among others.
Bungoma County cannot do without a posho mill. Most residents, especially in rural areas, do not believe in eating packet maize flour. They believe in shelling their own maize.
Although there are many posh mills in this region, making your price less than your competitors will give you leverage.
Currently, milling a 2-kilogram tin is 10 shillings. Make yours at 8 shillings. Your competitors might hate you but you will be making some good money and your customers will be happy.
You can also mill your own maize and sell the flour on retail from as little as 1 kilogram. Currently, 2-kilogram tin of maize is going for 100 shillings, the final product (after shelling) is between 110 and 115 shillings.
Besides agriculture, the tourism sector will be a leading sector in achieving the county’s growth. The county has many potential tourist attraction sites that are yet to be exploited.
The niche products initiative in the tourism sector of vision 2030 aims at providing 3,000 beds high-cost accommodation for tourists interested in cultural and eco-tourism, as well as water-based sports and related activities.
Despite having some potential for tourism including in the Mt. Elgon National Park, the hotel industry is still underdeveloped in the region. With the investment the government is putting in to enhance the tourism industry, the hospitality industry is bound to be profitable especially in an area like Webuye.
The history of the two major communities residing in Webuye lies in the famous Chetambe War between bukusu community and the white men that took place at the lukoba lwa chetambe on top of Chetambe hills. The historical site where the war took place offers a great tourist attraction.
Bungoma has two major manufacturing industries, these are, Rai Paper Formerly Pan Paper Mills (East Africa) and Nzoia Sugar Company limited. Both of these companies have been undergoing major challenges in which Pan paper collapsed in 2009, it was revived but the company is still operating at a low scale.
Nzoia Sugar Company Limited, on the other hand, has been experiencing frequent closures occasioned by mismanagement. With Bungoma having sugarcane as its major cash crop there is an opportunity for the manufacturing industry to be established that can process the produce into finished goods such as ethanol, sugar, bioplastics, renewable energy, and biodegradable paper.
Bungoma is still a developing county in terms of infrastructure, the government is embarking on development projects such as the construction of the Lower Nzoia irrigation project. There are roads in Bungoma that are yet to be constructed too. An investor can take advantage of government tenders to supply materials for the implementation of these projects.