By Dr.George Masafu, Kenya’s Ambassador to DRC.
When the British created colonies overseas and accessed huge tracks of land,they ceased subsistence farming in their countries of origin.They converted their land into Parks and flower gardens and moved their able bodied men into the colonies with technical support for mega scale food production.
The white highlands were created in Kenya for wealth creation in agriculture with the railway line established to move the produce to Mombasa and onward shipment to Britain.Lord Delamere had herds of dairy cows numbering tens of thousands and that is how he dominated the milk sector by sheer economies of scale.
Our market model is not geared to supporting subsistence entrepreneurship. subsistence farming is an endogenous economy best limited to family food security.It cannot pay the supply chain costs needed to support its sustainability.
During the recent State Visit to DRC by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta,a number of agreements were signed. Food production is one of the critical sectors where far reaching agreements were penned down.DRC has the largest arable land in the world,a whopping 96 million acres.In the agreement, Kenyans who wish to do farming will be allowed to lease land for agriculture.Necessary legislation are in parliament to anchor this agreement into law to protect the investors.
I challenge Western counties elites to embrace the paradigm shift to move into new lands where owning and farming one thousand acres of land will be a normal thing.This is one sure way of achieving economies of scale and entering into agro industry to export maize and maize products, milk, meat profitably to Kenya and other countries.
And it’s not a secret, some Kenyans are seriously prospecting for farm land in DRC on the scale of hundreds of thousands of acres and it disturbs my mind that none is from western Kenya and Transnzoia;Kenya’s food basket for many years.My people,let us deliberately make efforts to change our mindset and embrace these opportunities.
I am in the country for the next one week to consult leaders at all levels and would be more than willing to engage on how to embrace the farming opportunities in the DRC.
You can reach me on +254729336404 for further discussions.