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Homa Bay County’s ambitious Kigoto Maize Mill project, launched with great fanfare by Azimio leader Raila Odinga in November last year, is facing a critical challenge. The quality of the flour produced at the mill has been called into question by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), casting doubt on the project’s future.

A KEBS report dated September 13, 2023, revealed that the flour, known as “Mokwa,” failed to meet the required standards when samples were obtained on August 28. This alarming discovery, occurring nine months after the factory’s launch, has raised concerns about product performance and consumer health and safety.

The report indicated that the maize flour had a high aflatoxin content of 19.46 , far exceeding the maximum allowable limit of 10. KEBS has ordered the immediate recall of the affected product from the market and is considering legal action against the company for violating Kenya’s Standards Act.

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While the KEBS findings present a significant challenge, the Kigoto Maize Mill project also faces issues related to suppliers and consultants. The firm, Diri Seeds and Unga Limited, which entered into a contract with the county government for consultancy, is demanding payment for services rendered. Failure to meet this financial obligation could disrupt the project’s operations.

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In the midst of these difficulties, Governor Gladys Wanga is eager to understand the situation further before making any official comments. The KEBS red flag and financial challenges place the project, aimed at advancing “Nyanza’s economic emancipation,” at considerable risk.

The future of this signature project, which was intended to be a cornerstone of regional development, now hangs in the balance, prompting concerns about its economic and social impact on Homa Bay County.

 

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