Traders who were selling in the open along the Nyeri-Nanyuki road have started occupying the Sh1 billion modern Chaka market in Kieni East, Nyeri county.
Those moving into the market include clothes and vegetable traders, and wholesalers. The market is expected to accommodate 1,200 traders.
The facility, which was constructed by the national government, has a bus park where all passengers will be picked up and dropped off by public service vehicles.
The authorities said the government has ensured that the right people were allocated trading slots in the market.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega said on Monday that President Uhuru Kenyatta had directed that the traders be moved to the market before the onset of the rains.
The MP said traders started moving to the market on Monday this week and will have left the makeshift stalls along the Nyeri-Nanyuki road by Wednesday.
“The facility will also have financial institutions and so traders will not need to go outside to do their financial transactions. They will be getting the services from financial institutions domiciled here,” he said.
There will also be a convenient shop where people will be shopping for all their household items.
Other facilities will include an industrial area for value addition of farm produce to reduce post-harvest losses.
The shared value addition block will be done in the second phase. Traders will be using the block to add value to their produce to increase their shelf life and price.
“We want to thank the national government for the funds that they have spent, close to Sh1 billion, in the first and second phase, and we are looking forward to the third phase whereby we will have the manufacturing unit,” he said.
Kega said the process of procuring a cold room equipment is ongoing. Farmers will be keeping their perishables in the cold room to ensure they do not go bad.
He said the market has been the President’s pet project and he has been touring to see its progress whenever he visits Sagana State Lodge that is located a few kilometres from the facility.
The construction of the market started about five years ago. Traders who were operating on Kenya Railway land were moved and the government had to get an alternative for them.
The government approached the New KCC, which owned seven acres, and acquired the land. The government is in the process of acquiring the whole land, about 24 acres, for an industrial park.
The government will boost security in the market and has deployed two Administration Police officers to guard the facility.
The markets and the bus park will be managed by the county government, while the manufacturing unit and administration block will be managed by the national government.
Trader Duncan Ndirangu said they were happy that they will now operate under a permanent shade, unlike where they operated under scotching sunshine and mud during the rainy season.
He said he was happy that the allocation of the stalls was done transparently.