US ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, has come to the defence of Del Monte on the renewal of its land lease. McCarter has said the American multinational that occupies over 8,800 ha of land in Murang’a and Kiambu has positively impacted the lives of the people living around it.
The ambassador cited the many workers employed by the fruit processor and numerous schools it has constructed and renovated. He spoke at Kihiu Mwiri area in Gatanga during a food issuance exercise organized by Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang’ata in partnership with the US embassy.
The company's land lease expires this year and renewal has been blocked by several parties that have been calling for part of the land to be ceded to the community.
“When I was first told about the matter, I asked what the company has done for the community and I was given details of the numerous projects undertaken. I told them, it is good what you have done but you also need to talk about it,” McCarter said.
He then talked to workers who have been in the company for years and they gave him their experiences and how they were able to educate their children and change their lives, he said.
The envoy said he had been pushing the company to invest more in the community and it will continue to work with locals. McCarter said the lease renewal issue should be discussed by stakeholders and an amicable solution found.