Former grazing area is now attracting influx of investors upon its elevation

The establishment of Rumuruti as the Laikipia County headquarters has opened up one of the neglected parts which is a relief to residents who for decades have been exposed to banditry attacks.

Rumuruti christened the “remote route” as it is located between Nyahururu and Maralal route was a haven for bandits who caused mayhem stealing cattle from the pastoralist communities.

Today, the pale shadow of the market has changed due to the influx of investors looking for parcels of land as the centre is also a resting place for travellers commuting between Nairobi and Samburu.

The price of land depends on the location of the parcels from the town, with those within the town fetching between Sh2.5 million and Sh3.5 per acre.

Those located at a far distance are going for between Sh600,000 and Sh800,000 per acre.

In the last population census, the town had 13,000 people, with a projection to grow to 50,000 in the next 10 years, while the cost of land estimated to rise by threefold.

Rumuruti Municipality Manager Mr Jackson Kibocha, said the town is projected to grow owing to the influx of investors.

“The area formerly inhabited by herders is a hive of activities with investors flooding in looking for opportunities. The centre is a major stopover for those heading to Northern Kenya,” said Kibocha.

When The Standard visited the fast-growing town, real estate players among them Golden Greens Properties Limited and Imara Lands Investment officials were busy guiding investors from Kangema, Nairobi, Nanyuki and Kiambu on where they could get parcels of land. 

Some of the investors have sunk boreholes for their flower and avocado farms employing hundreds of the youths and transforming the town.

A survey in the town revealed a plan by investors to establish leather manufacturing plants targeting a share in the Sh40 billion imported finished materials in Kenya annually.

Stella Wamuyu who operates an eatery, said that business growth has been paramount in the market centre in the last two years.

“This has been a major outlet which is the gateway to the north and business activities have reduced banditry attacks,” said Wamuyu.

Nanyuki-based Nalanya self-help group is also among several others that have transversed the area, eying parcels of land between City Cotton and Ndurumo.

Simon Guama, chairman of Nalanya Self Help Group based in Nanyuki town, described Rumuruti as an ideal area for investors, based on the growing population that would need rental houses and business premises.

“My members want to have parcels of land for future investment,” said Guama.

Bernard Karanja, a director at Golden Green Properties Limited said there are hundreds of investors attracted to Rumuruti owing to its potential.

“Our company has five parcels of land near Rumuruti town that we take our customers to view on Saturdays. There is a positive response as many are preparing to build their residences or business premises,” said Karanja.

Laikipia County Secretary Koinange Wahome said since the headquarters relocated from Nanyuki to Rumuruti, substantial growth has been witnessed.

Mr Koinange said commercial banks and Saccos are opening branches in the area, a testimony of a growing centre with an influx of business persons.

Rumuruti is among the market centres on a transformation path, and in six months, Koinange said it is projected to generate more revenue, and enable the government to initiate development projects.

“The county government since 2015 initiated a plan to relocate its headquarters from Nanyuki to Rumuruti. Governor Joshua Irungu has been instrumental and in his second term actualised the dream as per the wish of Laikipians,” said Koinange.

He said the ongoing construction of the County Aggregation and Industrial in Rumuruti is a game changer, bound to drastically change Laikipia into the take-off stage economically riding on manufacturing and value addition.

The Ministry of Lands and Housing has secured 27 acres of land for 2,000 housing units.

Albert Muchiri, a director in affordable housing programme said Rumuruti is a growing place thus the need to provide shelter.

“Hundreds of investors are on their way to Laikipia through Rumuruti owing to the presence of land for expansion,” said Mr Muchiri.

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