Traders thrilled about World Bank-funded Sh58m Bomet market upgrade

Stalls build for small scale traders at Bomet main market in part of a Sh 58 million upgrade funded by the World Bank under the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP) in this photo taken on July, 5, 2022

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Small-scale traders in Bomet town will benefit from the upgrading of stalls at the main market in a Sh58 million programme funded by the World Bank.

The project is being undertaken by Kibinico company and includes building stalls and sheds and laying cabro blocks.

A truck mounted with a skip loader will also collect garbage from the market and adjacent trading centres, promising a cleaner environment for traders and residents.

“The skip loader, which has just been imported and is awaiting registration documents to be approved, will greatly improve sanitation in the Bomet municipality as the solid waste will be deposited to the acquired five transfer stations,” Mr Rotich said.

The World Bank is funding the project under the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) and is being implemented by the Bomet County Municipal Board.

It comes three years after another company, Patience Services Limited, laid cabro blocks in a different section of the market meant for fresh farm produce dealers for Sh14.3 million. That project was also funded by the World Bank under KUSP.

The county government relocated hawkers from the site in 2018 to pave the way for construction of the modern market stalls, which are expected to be handed over in a few weeks.

“We are modernising the market to ensure small-scale traders, especially those supplying and selling fresh farm produce, can conduct their business with ease,” said Deputy Governor Shadrack Rotich, who doubles up as the Lands and Urban Planning executive.

Open stalls will be used by traders dealing mainly in textiles, while lockups will be allocated to those engaged in other business.

Mr Robert Rono, a civil engineer at the Bomet municipal board at the site of ongoing construction of lock up stalls at Bomet main market funded by the World Bank at a tune of Sh 58 million under the Kenya Urban Support program in this photo taken on July, 5,2022

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Mr Joel Maritim, the chairman of small scale traders at the market, said the upgrade was welcome as it would create more space for traders.

“We welcome the move to make the operating environment for us easier as it would attract more customers. Being the highway to Nairobi from Western Kenya, we expect more customer traffic once construction is completed,” Mr Maritim said.

Trucks delivering goods to the market used to get stuck in the mud at the market in rainy seasons, and cabro blocks will now ease transportation.

“We are looking forward to using the facilities, [because] traders who operated from open-air spaces had to close their businesses during rainy periods,” said Ms Beatrice Langat, a trader at the market.

Muddy pavements also impeded the movement of customers.

Five years ago, the county government directed all hawkers and kiosk operators in the town to operate from the main market, which had been upgraded.

The market has been fenced off, with entry and exit points, while traders were allocated modern stalls.

Governor Hillary Barchok said the county was seeking support from development partners to improve infrastructure in urban centres so as to attract investors to the region.

“We are looking at creating an enabling environment for traders to do business in the county,” Dr Barchok said. 

“Our main focus is adding value to fresh farm produce before offloading it to the market so as to enable farmers to make maximum profits from their investment.” 

The county is seeking to add value to sweet potatoes and milk, with processing plants set up in Sigor and Chebunyo wards in Chepalungu constituency.

A poultry slaughter slab is under construction in Sotik constituency, while a fresh farm produce bulking unit is being put up in Bomet East constituency, with farmers expected to leverage high volumes when negotiating with outlets.

Floodlights have also been erected at trading centres and along streets to enable traders to do business at night and address insecurity.

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