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Gov’t hints at possibility of Del Monte ceding more land

The government has hinted at the possibility of Del Monte Company Ltd ceding more of its unused land to pave way for development projects and resettlement of victims of historical injustices by the company.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome said they are exploring avenues of having the Company cede more land if need be, since a lot of programmes in the area are on the pipeline.

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Already, Del Monte Ltd has ceded 1,400 and about 650 acres of land in Muranga and Kiambu respectively.

“There is a possibility that the company will have to cede more of their unused land. That is something that we are exploring,” she said.

Recently, Del Monte outgoing MD Stergios Gkaliamoutsas while addressing the ceding of land to the government expressed frustration over turning prime agricultural land into real estate saying if not addressed; food security in future will be compromised.

“All the way from Nairobi City along the super highway, prime agricultural land has been turned into real estates, a trend that if not addressed might impact negatively on food security in future,” he said.

The CS at the same time said they were working with Murang’a and Kiambu County government and the locals under the umbrella of Kandara Residents Association to resolve the impasse surrounding the ceded land.

Speaking during a development monitoring tour on affordable housing in Ruiru, the CS said once resolved, the victims will be resettled and major development projects will come up in the area.

“So far, we are at a good place because Del Monte Ltd has released land. We have issues with the county governments on how best to use the land because they have their priorities and as the national government, we have ours. What is important is that we have land for public utility and that will not be compromised. We shall use over 500 acres to set EPZ among several other government projects,” said Wahome.

One of the major projects the government intends to set up in the ceded land is the establishment of the Special Economic Zone.

During a tour in the area some months ago, President William Ruto announced that the EPZ will be created in the area to create employment opportunities for residents.

According to recommendations by the National Land Commission (NLC), the victims should get 70 percent of the ceded land and the two county governments 30 percent. The victims however feel that they might be shortchanged.

“As a former Kandara MP I have a better understanding of the issues surrounding the land. We are aware of the demands by the Kandara Residents Association and we shall ensure their issues of historical injustices are resolved,” she said.

KNA
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