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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid