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    Kenyan home buyers now want houses with cultivation spaces

    When real estate companies in Kenya realized they were not selling enough residential houses, they pulled out their drawing boards, cleared them and came up with a new strategy that now seems seamless.

    The unique marketing model involves wooing residential home buyers by giving them small plots for farming, which come complete with adequate water for irrigation, in addition to the house they are buying.

    This realization that people, regardless of where they live, still have to eat and, therefore, relish a piece of farmland is gradually boosting urban farming efforts in the country.

    Currently, and ironically, most urban farming initiatives have been based in the slums but this new real estate strategy holds the promise of increasing food production in a country labeled food insecure by the World Food Program (WFP)

    Hass Consult’s  100-acre Esidai Housing project comprises 25 four-acre plots sold as ready-to-go gated homes with serviced farms.

    Several other real estate companies have adopted the approach, which promises to position urban farming in Kenya as a reliable food source.  This is in consideration of the fact that in Africa, half of the population is expected to move to urban areas by year 2030.  

    Each plot in Optiven’s residential project in Kitengela has free space the size of a standard class room to allow its clients grow vegetables and other food crops for domestic consumption.

    Water tanks were erected to tap rain water for irrigation.

    Kruss Kenya, based at the Kenyan Coast offered its clients in Nyali low cost green houses measuring 15 by 20metres in a bid to encourage them to grow fast maturing vegetables and fruits for domestic consumption.

    It also installed solar water pumps next to the gardens in partnership with a local solar company to aid in irrigation

    This marketing strategy comes at a time when the global focus is on Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), chief among them, total poverty eradication and making the world food secure.

     Currently, at least 805m people are faced with severe hunger in the world, majority being from developing nations like Kenya according to the state of food insecurity 2014 report by the World Food Program (WFP).

    Urban farming is quickly taking shape around the country. A research by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) on the benefits of urban agriculture in Africa showed that, households that practice urban agriculture are more likely to have access to a wider variety of nutritious foods such as vegetables and animal products. In Kampala, Uganda, urban agriculture has been linked to improved nutritional status in school children.

    The report noted that large plots for agricultural are being created on undeveloped land in cities like Dar es Salaam, Yaounde, Lusaka and Kampala in a bid to provide adequate food for a growing population in cities. 

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