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Hass Consult roll out farming project in the city

04 November 2014, 16:06

Nairobi - Hass Consult, a real estate company, has launched a farming project and hopes to woo prospective urban and middle class farmers in Nairobi to purchase for fresh farm produce.

Hass Consult CEO, Farhana Hashmani said the launched Esidai project is on a 100-acre piece of land off the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway whose 25 four-acre plots are to be equipped with adequate water for irrigation, secure fences, road access networks and electricity supplies as ready serviced farms.

“The initiative is aiming for maximum land utility, as well as providing a means of access to Kenyans who may not necessarily have the funds to acquire a house, but will now be able to acquire a fully functional and easily accessible farm,” said Hashmani.

She added that the farms’ proximity to the capital city and the Northern Corridor transport route ensures easy market access for the produce.

“We selected a fertile red and black soil site and have installed three 200 metre deep boreholes enabling annual water supply for agricultural production. For standalone farmers, installing a borehole can be a very costly exercise, typically of the order of KES 2 million and as much as KES 3.5 million,” said Hashmani.

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The gated farm project is also equipped with central transformers for energy supply to every plot especially for green house farming that requires less space and minimum crop cultivation activities.

“We look forward to partnering with agricultural stakeholders to help our clients access agricultural information, receive extension services from agricultural experts, and connect them with the market to help them benefit further from the project,'' she assured.

A recent state of food insecurity report by FAO (SOFI 2O14) in Africa revealed that nearly 40 percent of urban dwellers in Africa are involved in agriculture. It stated that the urban poor were making a positive contribution to food security, using innovative agricultural techniques such as sack gardens and poultry keeping, insulating them from severe food shortages. However, the report criticised the urban rich and middle class for doing little to ameliorate the food crisis in the continent.

According to a similar research by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) on the benefits of urban agriculture in Africa, households that practice urban agriculture are more likely to have access to a wider variety of nutritious foods such as vegetables and animal products. For instance, the research cites Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, where it explains that urban agriculture has been linked to improved nutritional status of school children.

The PRB report also notes that large plots for agricultural produce are being created on undeveloped land in cities like Dar es Salaam, Yaounde, Lusaka and Kampala in a bid to provide adequate food for a growing population in cities. The high rural-urban migration rate in Africa is forecast to see 45 percent of the total population living in urban areas by 2030 and 56 percent by 2050, according to International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Hass Consult’s new investment in urban agriculture is the first innovation in Kenya and Africa which intends to offer new farmers surety of land tenure and ensure they do not get involved in disputes over title deeds. It also shields clients from expensive and tedious bureaucratic procedures in installing water, electricity and other basic domestic infrastructure.

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