NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – Real estate company Optiven Limited has announced plans to venture into greenhouse farming during the launch a programme dubbed Kilimo Tujijenge.
Speaking to the press during the launch on Friday, the real estate company’s CEO George Wachiuri noted that large chunks of land remained underutilized in the country even as parts of the nation were faced food shortages.
“It’s a shame that Kenya is very productive yet our people in Baringo have no food,” Wachiuri observed. “So as Optiven, we’re taking a role in providing food for our people.”
According to Wachiuri, the initiative will provide investors with greenhouse and crop management plans which will enable them to track the progress of their farms through smart phones.
The real estate entrepreneur who also bagged the 2015 Mashujaa Business and Entrepreneurship Award was quick to note that many investors have often left their parcels fallow as they continued to seek funds to develop their properties.
The Kilimo Tujijenge Initiative is now providing the investors with an opportunity to earn money even as they wait to embark on their projects.
“We have over 2,000 customers that have got land but they’re waiting for them to get financing to build,” said Wachiuri. “So even as they wait to build, it means that they can now earn money through agribusiness.”
The real estate company which prides itself as a pace setter in the real estate industry observed that agriculture was a huge contributor to the nation’s GDP – something that could be used to further drive economic growth in the country.
“Part of the products we’re going to generate are for exports – we can export them to UAE, Europe for the benefits of our customers,” asserted Wachiuri.
The initiative which will require little mechanization is also expected to provide job opportunities with each greenhouse set to be manned by at least two gardeners.
The greenhouses will focus mainly on production of vegetables for consumption by hotels in the country which have recently seen an increase in bookings due to Kenya’s raising status in conference tourism.
The project will also see clients boast their earnings with an option for paying up for their subscriptions in installments.
“Optiven has partnered with providers of expertise to ensure our customers are going to put those greenhouses and they can earn up to Sh450,000 per year,” said Wachiuri.
According to statistics by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), agriculture contributes about 24 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product with a further 27 per cent contribution said to made indirectly.
The sector which has also been described as the nation’s backbone is said to be supporting 80 per cent of the rural population with 60 percent of Kenyans getting employed directly or indirectly.
Statistics by KARI also take note of agriculture’s vital input in government revenues with about 45 per cent of revenue said to be generated from the sector.
Optiven intends to explore these opportunities in order to boast agribusiness and help its clients generate an extra income from the project.