By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
Large scale flower farms, conservancies and horticulture farms are those which might be affected if calls on land leases are affected.
Buuri Sub County plays host to large flower, wheat, barley, and other farms, many owned by big investors from Kenya and outside.
Residents and a section of leaders say it is important to gauge the benefits of the farms to the local community, with some saying the leases should be reviewed upon expiry.
There are large scale farming carried out by private companies in Timau and other areas in Buuri, which have offered employment opportunities to thousands of locals.
But a section of residents said land is unequally distributed within the in Meru, with the large scale farmers holding large tracks of while most households have small parcels of land, which they said is unfair.
Poverty and lack of income have hindered land acquisition leading to cases of landlessness. The high cost of land is a major hindrance to the low-income earners in acquiring land. That is why we want our land reverted, especially those owned by foreigners who take all the money outside the country,” said Patrick Murithi, a Kisima resident.
Mr. Murithi said they had a strong case for land redistribution.
“There is no logic in having a small group of flower farms holding a big part of the entire area, yet locals have no land to do agriculture to sustain livelihoods. It is very unfair, especially because the beneficiaries are foreigners,” he added.
Some are said to have 999 and 99 leases which took effect from way back as 1919, but some leaders like Nkuene MCA Martin Koome said it is crucial that the benefits of the farms be appraised, for them to continue holding the leases.
Mr. Koome said it was important for leases held by organizations to be checked.
Though a report tabled in the Meru assembly said the conservancies, wheat, and cut flower farms have a 999-year lease; Koome said his understanding is it should be 99 years.
“We want to know the true position because the Meru people have a stake in that land,” Koome said, contributing to the assembly.