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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid