Nakuru County has attracted a new project supported by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) in partnership with the Kenya government and the private sector.
This project will be implemented under the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) Kenya which is supporting 11 other counties across the country.
This is for the development of herbs and spices in the region.
According to the County Executive Committee member for Agriculture Immaculate Maina, preparations for the launch of the project have started.
"We have started creating a database for the farmers growing herbs and spices in the county," said Dr Maina.
Dr Maina said the partnership will focus on enhanced quality for export markets including the standards, capacity to produce good herbs and spices for markets and good linkages.
"Herbs and spices farming is gaining traction with more farmers in the county focusing on local and foreign markets," said Dr Maina.
The CEC said established food processing companies like Njoro Canning Factory are buying herbs and spices which they dry and pack for export.
She revealed that because of the cooking habits in Kenya most herbs and spices are destined for export markets.
Some of the herbs and spices that are grown in the county include mint, coriander chives, rosemary, basil, lemon, grass, parsley, celery, basil, thyme, coriander, garlic, leeks, and lemon grass among others.
At least 40 farmers in Rongai, Njoro, Gilgil, Nakuru Town East and Kuresoi North have been identified for the Markup project.
"We spoke about the farmers we are planning to register, their farms, sizes, challenges among other issues," said Dr Maina.
She revealed that the farmers in the county were reaping from the ventures as some of the top restaurants in the county were buying the herbs and spices directly from the farmers while others were sourcing them from Wakulima Market in Nakuru Town.
"Some of the farmers are exporting their produce while others are selling them to leading supermarkets in Nakuru Town," added Dr Maina.
She added that with the growing supermarkets in Nakuru town this is a good source of revenue for the local farmers."
The farmers will be trained on how to boost their production. Some of the herbs and spices farmers are earning over Sh10 million annually.
"Starting with the Unido Markup project, we intend to teach our farmers on the gaps which include good agriculture practices, quality, and marketing linkages and the Kenya Standards for Horticultural production," said Dr Maina.
So far, two groups of farmers have been trained.
The CEC said once the farming takes root it will spur value addition, diversification and enhanced consumption of the herbs and spices whose uptake is low.