The Ndarugu Metropolis has partnered with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in establishing a state of the art development project that will comprise of a 70 acre fresh produce wholesale market; a 345 acre Special Economic Zone for value addition of agricultural and industrial raw material, and a 160 acre Student City that will accommodate 20,000 students.
The Vision 2030 flagship project, which seeks to engage JKUAT professionals in the conceptualization of the project, proposes to come up with a development project located adjacent to the A2 highway between Thika and Juja, 35km northeast of Nairobi. Building on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in November 2016, the partnership strives to leverage on academia-private sector initiative involving lectures and students in the five colleges of the University.
According to CEO Ndarugu Metropolis, Maria Cristina Torrado, the project that is expected to end in 2028, seeks to exploit its strategic location and through investment in infrastructure, designed and built, to support 24/7 operations, and create a globally competitive destination for investment in value addition.
The establishment of a fresh produce wholesale market will help to drive small holder productivity and reduce the cost of food through cutting out of multiple middlemen. The wholesale market will identify and incorporate small scale farmers as sources of supply and will work, in collaboration with the required partners such as JKUAT, national and county government, in enhancing efficiency in paying farmers; development of collection centres; and capacity building initiatives to integrate small holder farmers to the market operations.
With a bias in agro-processing, Ndarugu Metropolis acknowledges that the establishment of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is key to the achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and a critical enabler for the manufacturing pillar of the Government Big Four Development Agenda.
The SEZ will be based on five principles namely; state-of-the-art infrastructure that enables 24/7 operations in a secure environment; availability of raw materials for value-addition; modern raw material storage facilities; a young, enlightened labour force; and access to both local and regional markets.
The strategic location of the Metropolis will capture the demand for student accommodation from more than 10 universities within a 25km radius of the Metropolis located along the Thika superhighway.
Ndarugu Metropolis sees the student city, restricted to students attending university or technical colleges, as an important breeding ground for SME entrepreneurship and innovation to drive economic growth in a rapidly disruptive global business environment.
At the fruition of the project, Torrado said, Ndarugu Metropolis with partners such the University aims to become a case study for sustainable development in Africa with scaling opportunities.