Private sector eye 35,000 acres of state land in food production push

The private sector is set to gain access to over 35,000 acres of state land currently being held by parastatals and organisations such as ADC, NYS, Kenya Prison Service, universities, government agencies among others.

Kenya has identified eight potential land parcels totaling 35,700 acres suitable for the project’s pilot phase, with an additional 36,400 acres mapped and located across Kenya.

Agriculture PS Kello Harsama said the land will be used to produce maize to help meet the country’s demand and deficit.

“Kenya is taking positive steps ahead of its regional peers by implementing this initiative to make land readily available for commercial agricultural production. By making this critical factor of production available to commercial growers, we are creating opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and food security,” the PS said.

As the impact of climate change hits food production, the value of land is becoming on of the most crucial capital attracting local and international companies seeking to secure the vital resource.

Qatar to targeting to lease land in Kenya

This has  seen foreign powers including the Qatar propose to lease 40,000 acres in Kenya in 2008 during Mwai Kibaki rule.

It was during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure that government finally passed a Cabinet resolution to lease the land to the private sector.

Read also: Twiga Foods transfers its Galana Kulalu rights to Selu Limited

President William Ruto now wants to push through with the deals prioritizing state land parcels at Galana Kulalu, the Bura irrigation scheme, Egerton University, Kimabere Farm, Kirimum Field Unit, Masinga Farm, the Tana Delta irrigation project, and the Tana irrigation scheme for the leasing programe.

Land in Kenya is very emotive given that areas that can be put under agricultural production is scarce. Kenya is warm and humid in the coastal region with very dry arid interior usually marked by low and unevenly distributed rainfall over much of the tropical country.

About 23 of Kenya’s 47 counties are classified as arid or semi-arid lands (ASALs) and only about 18 percent of the country’s land area is agriculturally productive: the central and western highlands, split by the Rift Valley. This zone has a temperate climate often experiencing medium to high rainfall.

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