Pain of rains: Impassable Kajiado-Taveta road spoils the fortunes of farmers

 Ilasit-Taveta road

A section of the Ilasit-Taveta road. Transport in the region has been affected as rains continue to pound the area.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

The ongoing heavy rains experienced in Loitoktok, Kajiado South sub-county, has rendered the Kajiado-Taveta road impassable, almost cutting off transport between the two neighbouring counties.

Currently, the 67km stretch of the road is muddy with large potholes filled with rainwater.

For the past week, Public Service Vehicles and trucks carrying farm produce have been stuck in the mud. The large section of the Kajiado South sub-county is considered the country's food basket, with large-scale farming of onions, tomatoes and French beans.

According to the Ewaso Ng'iro South Development Authority, the Loitoktok agricultural belt produced tomatoes worth Sh1.3 billion between the 2019-2020 financial year, making it the second largest commercial tomato producer in Kenya after Kirinyaga County.

Ilasit-Taveta road

Vehicles stuck on the Ilasit-Taveta road on November 12, 2023. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

The few matatus plying the route have increased fares to the chagrin of locals, especially residents of Njukini and Rombo areas where the road cuts across.

"The few matatus left on the road are now charging Sh800 from Taveta to Ilasit. Before the rains, they charged Sh500. Our farm produce is rotting on the farm since trucks can no longer access the rural areas," said a farmer.

Commuters are now forced to use the Mombasa Road-Emali-Loitok Tok route.

However, Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) officials led by Coast Ag Director Eng Peter Muruti visited the road on Saturday on a fact-finding mission after continuous public outcry.

 Mr Muruti said deliberations on tarmacking the road were at an advanced stage but promised that the roads agency would rehabilitate the road to make it passable.

Ilasit-Taveta road

Kenya National Highway Authority officials inspecting the Ilasit-Taveta road on November 12, 2023.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

"The road is impassable, for now, we will rehabilitate it to ease the pain of road users, deliberations on tarmacking the road are at an advanced stage," Mr Maruti said. 

Kajiado South MP Samuel Parashina wants the tarmacking of the road to be expedited. He described the road as an important facet of economic empowerment for residents of Kajiado South. 

"I have spoken to President William Ruto about this road which is a catalyst for the economic empowerment of this region. The rains have worsened an already serious situation, so let the national government move with speed to fix it," Mr Sakimba said.

 Mr Sakimba and his Taveta counterpart, John Bwire, have been lobbying to have the road linking their constituencies tarmacked to facilitate cross-counties trade.

The road linking Kajiado and Taveta counties has been in a deplorable state for the past 20 years.

In May 2019, Kenha said that it had identified a contractor to tarmac the road at a cost of Sh5.383 billion under the Annuity Road Project Programme (ARPP).

The programme was part of former President Uhuru Kenyatta administration's approach to upgrade 10,000km of roads across the country through public-private partnerships.

The contractor promised to begin the road works by November 2019. However, around December 2019, the contractor was seen leaving the site.