Moi University to lease out 1,500 acres

The entrance to Moi University Main Campus in Kesses, Uasin Gishu County on February 08, 2024.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Cash-strained Moi University has opened up 1,500 acres of land within its main Kesses campus in Eldoret for farming leases.

The varsity said investors would take up the land for 60 months, preferably for maize farming.

“1,500 acres of ploughed land be leased out to potential investors in maize farming,” the varsity said in a call for investors.

The university is presently dogged by a liquidity crunch amid wage bill pressures and high operational costs that gobbled up about 70 percent of disbursements from the exchequer. The situation is exacerbated by a dip in student enrollment numbers over the years.

The planned land lease could hand some cash relief to Moi University amid campaigns by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry to open idle public land for revenue generation and improvement of food security.

The ministry's land commercialisation initiative (LCI) targets to lease up to 500,000 acres of idle land and attract at least Sh65 billion in agricultural investments.

In a new shift, Kenya targets to lease out underutilised public land to the private sector for commercial agriculture projects.

The initiative targets to reduce the staple food deficit by at least 50 percent, create 1.1 million jobs, increase farmers’ incomes, and promote value addition.

The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry in February opened up 21,000 acres of idle land belonging to the National Youth Service (NYS) and Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (Tarda) for commercial leases under the LCI initiative to boost food security.

"The government of Kenya seeks interested and qualified commercial agribusinesses and investors with demonstrated technical and financial capacity to undertake farming, (agri-)forestry, and other agriculture-related activities on land sites identified under the LCI,” the Ministry said in a tender call for investors to take up land in Samburu and Kiambere held by the NYS and Tarda in February.

The State said it will lease out 20,000 acres of land within the Samburu Kirimun field unit held by NYS, which is currently dedicated to livestock production, wildlife conservancy, and tree plantations.

An additional 1,000 acres of land held by Tarda near Kiambere hydropower dam is also up for leasing.

The State had between 1996 and 2005 run a 350-acre irrigated farming project on the Tarda land in Kiambere where it produced mangoes, bananas, citrus, tomatoes, onions, and various other crops. However, declining reservoir water levels led to the discontinuation of the project due to prohibitive costs.

Other lands identified for the LCI project include Egerton University where 200 acres have been set apart for an Agro-science Park, 10,000 acres at the Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme, and 25,000 acres of Bura Irrigation scheme.

Additionally, the Tana Delta Irrigation Project has 10,000 acres for rice production, while Kiambere in Embu County has 1000 acres for fruit and vegetable production.

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