Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has banned uprooting of coffee by farmers who are turning farms into concrete jungles.
Real estate sector has been a boom in Kiambu County. Most of its towns have experienced exponential growth by housing people who work in the capital city.
Mr Waititu said the ban is aimed at protecting the crop, although real estate offers better returns compared to farming.
“There is no uprooting of coffee in Kiambu anymore. We do not want to see people uprooting coffee to put up houses. To those (real estate investors) buying coffee farms in Kiambu, they should continue with the coffee business. We don’t want a situation where an investor acquires coffee farm to put up houses,” Mr Waititu said.
He added: “We want to revive the sector and so if you want to put up a house, do it in areas where there are no crops like coffee. It’s not must that you have to uproot coffee so that you build a house because I am sure that very soon, that sector will be flourishing.”
Deputy Governor James Nyoro, an Agricultural Economist, said there is a task force in place interrogating issues ailing the coffee sector and which is expected to recommend solutions that will see the sector regain its glory.
“We have the potential of producing four times what we are producing today, but there are several problems and soon we will reveal what we have been doing, (because) by the end of 2018, instead of a tree producing one kilogram of cherry, it would probably produce five kilograms or more,” Mr Nyoro said.
The notable coffee growing areas in the county include Kiambu, Githunguri, Kiambaa, Gatundu North, Gatundu South and Ruiru sub-counties where most farms have been turned into concrete jungles.
Notable housing projects that have seen uprooting of coffee include 1000-hectare Tatu City in Ruiru, 771-acre Migaa, Eden Ville as well as Five Star.
Small scale farmers, mostly in Kiambu, Githunguri, Ruiru and Kiambaa have also subdivided what were coffee farms into small plots which they have either sold or have turned into apartments and flats.