Amboseli avocado farm to appeal Nema bid to revoke licence


Avocado farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG

An avocado farm, which has been in the eye of a storm for encroaching on a wildlife route within the Amboseli ecosystem, says it will appeal a decision by National Environment Management Authority (Nema) seeking to cancel its licence.

KiliAvo Fresh manager Jeremiah Swaka said they are considering appealing the move.

“We have invested heavily in this farm and employed more than 400 people. We will not relent in our push to be allowed to venture into farming,” he said, adding that they have another case pending at Kajiado High Court.

The National Environment Tribunal dismissed a case by KiliAvo on Monday. Tribunal chairman Mohammed Balala ruling virtually said KiliAvo had failed to provide reports and witnesses to help prosecute its case.

According to Nema director Kajiado County Joseph Kopejo, the authority would initiate the process of cancelling its licence.

“The decision they appealed against required them to show cause why their licence should not be cancelled. I expect that process to now proceed to its logical conclusion,” he said.

Last September, Nema warned KiliAvo that it would cancel its permit after Amboseli Landowners Conservancy Association (ALOCA) and other key stakeholders raised queries on skewed environmental impact assessment, arguing the farm would interfere with the ecosystem.

They said the farm was on a wildlife corridor and violated ALOCA land use plans and the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan, which zones the area for livestock and wildlife. They also claimed developers failed to consult widely on their plans.

“The KiliAvo avocado farm is in an ecologically sensitive zone, which will cause an ecological catastrophe for communities, water, wildlife and climate. It should never have been permitted by the county Nema office as it contravenes policies, regulations and the rights to a clean and healthy environment for the pastoralists who occupy this land,” said WildlifeDirect chief executive Paula Kahumbu in a statement.