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23 Nov 2016

Wilfred Ayaga, Standard Digital (Kenya)

Kenya: Locals seek participation in deciding whether to renew leases for multinational agribusinesses

“MPs want Kenyans to benefit from lands whose leases have expired”

MPs have threatened to block renewal of leases for huge tracts of agricultural land owned by wealthy elite and multinationals...A petition by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter wants Parliament to issue directions on the issue, including establishing the status of various parcels of land currently owned by multinationals in agriculturally rich areas where wealthy landowners have been reaping billions of shillings in profits over the years.

“In 1895, the colonial administration allegedly evicted the Nandi community from the ancestral land, currently occupied by multinational tea companies...Among the parcels of land targeted by the petition currently in Parliament are…tea estates…[that] occupy over 40,000 acres in Nandi Hills and Tinderet constituencies. The tea estates have allegedly not benefited the communities, leading to resentment among the locals, who claim the lands were forcefully taken from their forefathers...

In October, Murang’a residents petitioned the county government not to renew leases given to fruit juice company, Del Monte, demanding that the company cedes part of its 30,000 acres for public use.