A group of Kiambu and Murang’a MPs want action taken against the Director of Survey for failing to resurvey Multi-National Fruit Processor, Del Monte Company’s Land despite calls by Parliament and National Lands Commission to expedite the process.
Patrick Wainaina (Thika Town), Joseph Nduati (Gatanga), Simon King’ara (Ruiru) and Jude Njomo (Kiambu) said the Director of Survey has failed, with the delays making the land a security risk and putting the company’s long term plans on hold.
Speaking during a tour at the company on Monday, the legislators said the country could not afford to lose Del Monte since it would lose Sh.10 billion annually in foreign exchange, Sh.7.5 billion on supplier’s backward linkage and Sh1.2 billion annual wage payment, among others.
Early this year, Wainaina, through Parliament, had petitioned the government to expedite the resurvey of the land so as to fast-track the renewal of its lease agreement set to lapse in 2022. The company had also written to have the exercise done 12 years ago but no progress had been made.
Wainaina said were Del monte to leave the country, it would portray the government’s intention of wooing investors in a bad light.
“The government has continued to woo investors but what message will they send if they chase away Del Monte after that has all these multibillion investments? Wondered Wainaina.
On his part, Nduati said the company plans of farming mangoes, bananas and processing fruits from local farmers had been put on hold.
He said several of his constituents have benefitted from the company since most of its land is in the constituency.
“Towns like Thika, Kenol and Gatanga entirely depend on Del Monte and if it were to leave, they would become shells. Thousands of jobs will be lost too,” said Nduati.
King’ara said the tussles would affect the country’s trade with the USA. “We stand to lose in this and we cannot continue putting them on the edge. This resurvey must be done soonest and the lease renewal be expedited,” said MP King’ara.
The Multinational company has been embroiled in a tussle with Kiambu and Murang’a counties and a lobbyist group, the Kandara Residents Association.
The Association is demanding 5,000-8,000 acres, while the Murang’a County government 3,000 acres to establish a modern city.
The company has over 22,000 acres and has shown willingness to give out about 600 acres of its unused land in the Kiambu side for public use and to develop industrial parks, schools, cottage industries, low-cost housing and hospitals.
By Muoki Charles