Large agricultural investments in Kenya’s Nanyuki Area: Inventory and analysis of business models


Authors: Markus Giger, Emily Mutea, Boniface Kiteme, Sandra Eckert, Ward Anseeuw, Julie G. Zaehringer

Published: 2020

Source: Land Use Policy journal

Many experts agree that more agricultural investment is needed in the global South to improve local food security and reduce poverty. However, there is a lack of consensus about the types of investment needed to achieve these goals. This paper contributes to the literature on large agricultural investments and corresponding business models by inventorying and analysing such investments in Kenya’s Nanyuki area. We identify four clusters of business models that differ primarily by type of production and other distinct determinants, namely: demand from markets; access to land; land tenure regime and colonial history; actors involved; biophysical context; labour availability; and governance of the value chain via private standards. The study results shed light on the factors that help or hinder implementation of large agricultural investments and shape their impacts in the context of African land use systems. The way land is accessed represents one of the most-decisive factors determining the risks and opportunities associated with such projects. We find that most investments in the Nanyuki area occur on land bought or leased from private owners.

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