Twiga offers Galana land to new investors

Twiga Foods CEO Peter Njonjo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Technology firm Twiga has transferred its rights at the one million-acre Galana-Kulalu Scheme to Selu Limited for the development of 20,000 acres under maize production.

Selu Limited is a special-purpose vehicle established to invest in and transform the Galana- Kulalu irrigation project through innovative and sustainable farming practices.

It is backed by Latin American firm Campos and US-based AgCo, among others.

Twiga managing director Peter Njonjo said there was no consideration paid in the transfer of concession as Selu has been funding the initial phase in the development of the vast irrigation scheme.

"We are more of an e-commerce and agriculture is not our primary business that is why we have transferred our rights to Selu who have expertise in farming," Mr Njonjo told the Business Daily, on Thursday.

The transfer comes soon after it was revealed in March that Twiga had been allotted land at the site. Twiga uses technology to connect consumers and suppliers including more than 1,000 farmers.

Mr Njonjo said Selu, which through one of the companies under it, is overseeing over 600,000 acres of farmland in Latin America which is in a similar climate to Kenya, hence making them the best-suited firm to run operations at Galana.

"We believe that Selu Limited is the best fit to manage the next stage of the project, which is to develop it further, manage and then operate it," he said.

Selu is currently undertaking the development phase covering 500 acres and aiming to achieve above nine tonnes per hectare, which is 4.5 times the Kenyan average yield that stands at two tonnes from the same size of land.

The firm is targeting to start commercial operations in the fourth quarter of this year, with the development of 20,000 acres that is feasible based on available water from the Galana River throughout the year.

Yvonne Okafor, who is managing the development phase at Selu, said Galana-Kulalu will be Kenya’s most significant maize producer.

"We are committed to implementing innovative strategies and leveraging state-of-the-art infrastructure to optimize efficiency and productivity. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, Selu aims to positively disrupt the agricultural sector," said Ms Okafor.

Selu has partnered with large seed, fertiliser, and other farming input providers to achieve optimal yields and produce safe, high-quality maize.

The firm says the development of a dam on the Galana River, which will capture run-off during the rainy season and maximise irrigation potential, the scope of the project will be scaled to 100,000 acres.

"This will generate annual production equivalent to the average maize deficit in Kenya over the last 5 years and over 10 percent of the country’s annual production," said the firm.

The development of the Galana-Kulalu project is through a Public-Private Partnership with the government, as it seeks to make the country food secure.

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