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Is Real Estate Development The Unavoidable Evil In Kiambu/Murang'a?

Syngenta East Africa Ltd’s Mt. Kenya Region Sales Manager Mr. John Muguro said that as investors took advantage of the sudden shift in land use to real estate development, the disappearance of productive agricultural lands has in turn affected food security, economic growth and derailed the revival of agricultural business industry in the region.

Speaking to the press at the Eton Hotel in Thika on Tuesday when launching their Engeo insect pest control product to the region’s distributors and stockists, Muguro said that it was worrying to see farmers downing their farming tools and choosing to sell their large tracks of land to realtors, turning the once dependable food baskets into consumers.

“High demand for residential and commercial properties in Kiambu and Murang’a counties is posing a threat to the development of the agricultural sector. The two regions have for many years has been a hotbed of production of a variety of wide range of food crops and dairy. But over the last few years most of the farmers who depended on farming as a source of livelihood are slowly turning their backs and tools away from the trade. With the price of a plot of land increasing with every day that passes, the poor farmers are opting to make some quick bucks to toiling all their lives on the farms for peanuts,” said Muguro.

However, he said that this in turn was opening new areas for farming which would never been exploited. That is where Syngenta comes in to partner with the farmers through their agents to maximise productivity and ensure that farming reclaimed its lost glory.

He added that by training the distributors, they were sure to maximise productivity and quality of the produce from these regions. Their aim, according to him, was basically to get areas such as Kiambu and Murang’a back where they were before when the country depended on them for food production and export of cash crops.

Syngenta has been assisting farmers via exploiting greenhouse farming to maximise land use, providing them with quality crop variety breeds and also improving on the their pest control products.

“This is where products like Tylka (an improved tomato breed) and Engeo come in. Engeo lessens the number of pesticides the farmer needs to use for insects control. It is very safe to the user and the produce is safe for consumption after just three days,” he concluded.

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