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Kiambu renews Del Monte’s 8,000-Acre Land lease, gets 600 Acres for development.

Del Monte Managing Director  Stergios Gkaliamoutsas and Governor Ferdinand Waititu signing a memorandum of understanding to renew the land lease for Del Monte land for another 99 years.
Kiambu County Government has officially renewed the leasehold of Del Monte Kenya Limited’s 8,000-acre parcel of land under its jurisdiction for another 99 years.

Consequently, the company has surrendered about 635 acres of its land that was not in used to the devolved unit.

In a public ceremony at the Thika Sub-County Stadium on Friday, Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Del Monte Managing Director  Stergios Gkaliamoutsas signed a memorandum of understanding to authenticate the agreement between the two organisations.

Speaking after the exercise, Gov. Waititu assured the company that his government would them a very conducive business environment so as to encourage more investment within the county.
Waititu challenged his counterpart from Murang’a Mwangi Wa Iria to follow suit saying continuous legal battles over the matter jeopardised the company’s productivity.

“There is no need for court cases over the issue of Del Monte leasehold. Murang’a County needs to borrow leaf and seek alternative conflict resolution mechanisms,” he said.

The governor said that about 200 out of the 635 acres transferred to the county government would be given to the Kenya Airports Authority for the construction of an airstrip with about 20 acres being set aside for a public cemetery.

“The residents of Thika will decide how the remaining piece of the land (about 400 acres) will be utilised when I call you for public participation soon. Otherwise, we will make arrangements on how you can visit the land before this discussion so as to give you a clear picture of the kind of land we are talking about,” explained Waititu.

Concerning the disputed two-acre piece of land at the Thika main bus terminus, Waititu said that his government had cancelled its leasehold and called on the owner to liaise with his office for compensation.

“I am inviting him to come to my office so that we can compensate him with an alternative piece of land. Individual interests cannot supersede those of the general public,” he said.

On his part, Del Monte MD expressed his gratitude to the county government for the gesture adding that the company planned to invest in a new project that will create additional 2,000 jobs.

“The signing of these documents marks a new era in our company as we contribute in the realisation of the government’s BIG 4 Agenda. We are looking forward to a similar gesture from Murang’a County Government,” said Gkaliamoutsas.

He noted that Del Monte employs about 7,000 direct employees and pumped about Ksh. 2 billion into the economy of Thika.

“Our company is the largest pineapple producer in the country, earning Kenya Ksh. 10 billion in foreign exchange. Apart from the Ksh. 2 billion we pump into the economy of Thika, we spend about Ksh. 6 billion every year in purchases of raw materials from small local businesses,” he said.

The signing of the MOU was overseen by Kiambu County commissioner Mr. Wilson Wanyanga and officials from the National Lands Commission.

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