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Landowners prefer farming to real estate

Prime plots in Nairobi are mostly known for real estate projects. Considering the thriving housing sector, acquiring a small parcel of land near the city comes at a cost.

Although there are land owners who opt to make quick money by selling off their prized asset, others build houses for sale or rent.

Surprisingly, there are a few who have opted to keep their piece of land for farming.

Riverbank Nurseries, a five-acre farm in Karen C grows all kinds of vegetables and fruits.

The farm has a brick wall and the public knows little about what goes on in there.

They grow avocados, raspberries, vegetables, french beans, apples and seedlings among other produce.

“In a day, we harvest about 50 to 80 kilos of vegetables and supply  them to a nearby restaurant,” said Evangeline Kaburo (inset), the farm manager.

“We have been doing this for years and I do not think the owner desires to do it differently,” she said.

The farm exports french beans and avocados aside from selling seedlings. Depending on the type of plant, price ranges between Sh100 and Sh500.

Another city farmer who has   converted his backyard into a farm is David Musembi.

A resident of Langata, Musembi has built a small greenhouse which he said has helped him cut vegetable costs significantly.

He said he saves about Sh6,000 a month and  sells the surplus to his neighbours.

“I consulted an official at Agrotunnel International who advised me on the kind of greenhouse to build. It cost me Sh50,000,” he said.

There are other farmers in the area who apart from growing vegetables, keep cattle too. The farms are a complete contrast in an area synonymous with posh estates.

“Growing my own seedlings ensures that I plant quality seedling and on time,” said a farmer.

To feed her dairy cows and calves, she sources hay from Nakuru and has built a granary to keep the supply constant. She supplies the vegetables to a hotel in Watamu.