Leaders of Lango Cooperative Union have leased out a sizeable chunk of its land assets to Smax-Group, a German investor, in a five-year deal that will see the investors develop the redundant land.
The land that measures about 1,165 hectares (about 11.65 square kilometers) is located in Angayiki village, Chawente Sub County, Kwania District.
Formed in the 1950s by cotton farmers in the greater Lango sub-region, Lango Cooperative Union lost all its assets in the early 1980s to commercial banks and some unscrupulous individuals.
However, the union later reclaimed its land in Angayiki in the ongoing struggle to repossess its prime assets.
Maxwell Akora, the Lango Cooperative Union Chairperson, who doubles as Maruzi County MP, says the union has leased out the recovered Angayiki land, a move aimed at generating funds for the operationalization of its primary societies.
“The long-term lease of the land will see the investor pay 1.1 million shillings per acre to the union. I believe this will secure the land from encroachers and bring benefits to all our primary cooperatives,” he said in an interview.
“The land has not been sold, but leased out for a period of five years, to raise money to help the 144 primary societies under Lango Cooperative Union, “Akora said. He said the move will generate Shs 1.3 bn in seed capital for farmers, to be recycled every season to run the union’s activities.
He noted that while the union had received Shs 2 bn from the government out of the Shs 17 bn owed to it in compensation for losses made during the 1981-1986 guerrilla war that brought the NRM/A into power, that money alone is not sufficient to run the union’s activities.
According to Akora, the German Investor will develop infrastructure, set up irrigation systems, process and distribute quality seeds to farmers and later buy from them at good prices for export.
“After the lease period elapses, the assets built by the investor will remain in the possession of the Union,” he said.
The Union Chairperson further revealed that according to an MoU signed with the union, the German investor will build a technical school for training farmers, and 15% of profit gained by the investor will be shared by Lango Cooperative Union.
“They have already surveyed the land; they will rent the land for growing soya beans and cereals like maize, beans and support farmers in all the 144 primary societies.”
Tom Neo, one of the prominent farmers in the district and a member of Alira Primary Society commented, “The Union leadership needs to be transparent and accountable. Leasing out the land to an investor is a good move only if they can be transparent about it to members.”
Another farmer, Brenda Akidi of Aninolal Primary Cooperative Society, welcomed with excitement the move to lease out the land to an investor, saying it will not only save the land from encroachers but also provide jobs to farmers.
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