Kiambu County

Kenya: 800 hectares of Del Monte plantations wanted for land development

The lands of Kiambu County are famous for expansive pineapple plantations that provide a livelihood for 7,000 people. But the County wants to repossess the land to make room for land development, creating the new Aerotropolis City and an industrial park.

The lease granted to Del Monte Kenya Ltd for 800 hectares is to expire next year. The county says it will not be renewed. Del Monte is pushing for renewal, supported by many residents and businesses.

On May 30, Governor Ferdinand Waititu, county secretary Martin Njogu and other Kiambu officials met Del Monte MD Stergios Gkaliamoutsas. Waititu later posted on his Facebook page that his administration rejected the company’s request for renewal. He said the parcel will be converted into a county property.

More than 7,000 people work for Del Monte and live in Thika subcounty. They fear for their livelihoods if the lease is not renewed. The-star.co.ke describes how residents and businesses are calling for public participation forums before any decision is made.

Thika District Business Association chairman Alfred Wanyoike opposes the decision: “We feel there’s a hidden agenda in this whole issue. We are aware most factories and industries in Thika town have closed. Pushing Del Monte to the corner will be suppressing the economy of our town. Where will the locals who’ll be rendered jobless go?”

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