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
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
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
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.