News / Africa

Kenya Real Estate Boom Threatens Prime Farmland

Kenya Real Estate Boom Threatens Prime Farm Landi
X
April 10, 2013 3:21 PM
A real estate boom in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, is pushing development toward prime farmland outside the city, raising concerns about food and economy security. The housing demand is being fueled by a growing middle-class that is flocking to urban centers. It is a trend taking place throughout Africa, and it is expected to continue for years to come. VOA's Mary Alice Salinas reports.
Mary Alice Salinas
A real estate boom in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, is pushing development toward prime farmland outside the city, raising concerns about food and economy security. The housing demand is being fueled by a growing middle-class that is flocking to urban centers. It is a trend taking place throughout Africa and is expected to continue for years to come.

There is a booming housing market from Ghana to Nigeria to Kenya. More and more Africans are moving to major cities like Nairobi to earn a living, and they are looking for housing.

They are the driving force behind new developments like Bahati Ridge, which is about 45 kilometers outside Nairobi. Dozens of homes there have been built right up against lush farmland.

Real estate vs. farming

Nairobi is surrounded by thousands of fertile acres just like it. But developers, like Bahati Ridge chairman Joseph Gilbert Kibe, say it makes far more business sense to build homes on this land.

“Agricultural land is cheaper than residential land,” Kibe said.

He argued that real estate development is far more lucrative than farming. Kibe said that is why he uprooted half of his 180-acre coffee farm to build the housing development.  

Coffee bushes are grown on some of Kenya’s most fertile lands, and their beans are sold to high-end coffee stores around the world.

Growing urban sprawl

Agricultural economist Kenney Gitonga said 10,000 acres of the crop have been uprooted for real estate over the past five years. He argued that urban expansion is threatening the country’s agricultural sector, a key source of exports and foreign exchange.

“We move to a situation where a lot of land is being converted into real estate. What we are seeing, we are denying [the] agricultural sector some very productive resources,'' said Gitonga.

Also alarming, said Gitonga, is the potential impact of urban sprawl on food security.  

"Kenya is a food insecure country at the moment. That is to say, we are unable to serve our people, a majority of our people are not able to access basic food stuffs on a continuous basis," said Gitonga. "So when it comes to food security, we have to distinguish two aspects that actually you can produce your food. Alternatively, you can also access that food from the market.''

Food security

The African Development Bank says there are 300 million middle-class Africans. The bank defines middle class, though, as anyone spending from $2 to $20 a day.

The World Bank, headquartered in Washington, D.C., sees urbanization as a key driver for domestic growth, and a key reason it has a positive long-term outlook for Africa. It says Africa’s growth will continue to affect social and demographic dynamics on the continent.

The World Bank also says 40 percent of Africa’s one billion people currently live in cities. That figure is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2030, adding to the pressure to find new sources of land for settlement.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Richard Michael Abraham from: USA
May 08, 2013 11:54 AM
"Real Estate Development and housing in Africa represents growth and prosperity. With it, farmlands must yield ground and will grow."

Richard Michael Abraham
The REDI Foundation
Online Mentoring Real Estate Development Course
www.redii.org

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More