Firm leases greenhouses to agribusiness investors in pilot project

Colorful freshly picked tomatoes with vines attached, from garden to table. [Photo: Standard]
Agribusiness holds great hopes for food security, but reliance on rain-fed production has prevented Kenya from exploiting its high agricultural potential.

Coupled with this is that most smallholder farmers use traditional methods and outdated technology that do not improve their output, partly due to lack of capital to modernise their operations.

With this in mind, a local company has come up with an innovative way of helping agribusiness investors to access greenhouses on lease and an avenue to market their produce.

The firm, Goldenscape, has set up a pilot project in Rumuruti, Laikipia, through which it is fine-tuning the concept and demonstrating the returns that it says investors can reap from the venture.

“The investment aims at creating wealth and feeding the world. Since the launch of agribusiness in Kenya, the industry has undergone a lot of challenges,” said Goldenscape chairman Peter Wangai, adding that these hiccups are what the project aims to resolve.

Getting the greenhouse on lease means even those with no land can invest in agricultural production – without depending on rainfall patterns that are sometimes erratic due to climate change. The project site is in a semi-arid area, but has adequate water for irrigation.

The project, Mr Wangai said, will also help create employment.

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“Where will the large cohort of young Kenyans currently entering the labour force find employment? With its agribusiness investments, Goldenscape Greenhouses has uniquely positioned itself to absorb these workers, although farming does not often appeal to policy makers as a solution to the challenges of job creation,” he said.

“Kenyan agribusiness must break through a number of constraints that impede its growth and competitiveness.”

The chairman said they have managed to pay return on investment to every person who has invested with them, every month.

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