The County Government of Siaya through its Department for Housing and Urban Development has released KShs. 11.5 million for the establishment of market shades at Awelo Centre in Siaya Township Ward to meet the growing demand for selling space by farmers trading in fresh produce.

According to Siaya Municipality Manager Mrs. Linet Oyola, the funds will facilitate the construction of the KShs. 11.5 million fresh produce market project with components of market shade, water tower, abolution block, office block, landscaping and perimeter wall.

“The project that is funded by the State Department of Urban Development is part of the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) and aims at jumpstarting economic development at Awelo and its environs,” added Oyola.

Speaking on Tuesday while handing over the site to a Contractor (Lyneg Enterprises), Mrs. Oyola said the project would be complete by December 2021 and added that traders dealing in avocado, tomatoes, cabbages, kales, among other horticultural crops will be the main beneficiaries of the new markets under construction.

The market will be the largest in the County, it will also serve as a wholesale source for bananas, mangoes, avocadoes, potatoes, passion fruits, water melons, sukuma wiki and cabbages which are produced in neighbouring Sub-Counties.

“The new market is meant to enable farmers sell their produce in a conducive environment. They currently sell in open-air markets thereby exposing their produce to harsh weather conditions that may lead to some of it getting spoilt and depreciating in value,” she added.

The municipal manager stated that construction of the market is set to provide a favourable environment and alleviate the problem of lack enough trading space.

Once complete, Mrs. Oyola affirmed that a joint committee will be set up to come up with a list of traders who will be allocated spaces within an established mechanism and market operations criterion.

She said the committee would avert cases where impostors con innocent citizens through fake sale of market spaces and issuance of stalls in the proposed facility.

The market have come at a time when the County Government of Siaya through its Cooperative unit has established a Cooperative Development Fund (CDF) meant to empower traders and farmer groups to increase production and improve their livelihoods.

According to Cooperatives Director Mr. Samwel Wambisa, the County Government of Siaya has, in the Financial Year 2021/2022 budgeted KShs. 10 million that will empower Siaya traders to boost capital for their ventures.

“The CDF Act 2020 was approved by assembly and Governor Cornel Rasanga assented to it recently. So it awaits gazettment for it to be operational,” said Wambisa adding that his office is also working on regulations and guidelines that will run the funds.

Previously, the World Bank had also released grants amounting to over KShs. 98 million to organized community and youth groups in Siaya doing micro-projects pegged on five agricultural value chains to fight hunger in three constituencies in Siaya County.

The grants channelled through the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) in the Department of Agriculture benefitted more than 140 Community groups in Bondo, Rarieda and Ugunja sub-Counties.

The grants funded community and youth micro-projects with an aim of enhancing production of thriving value chains such as tomatoes, bee keeping, sorghum, poultry, aquaculture, avocado and dairy farming.

Benter Atieno, a trader at Awelo, says she looks forward to the completion of the market which will be a great relief to them since they have been selling their produce under very harsh conditions on the roadside under makeshift shelters covered with polythene sheets.