Kenyans Have Concerns Over Land Deal in Time of Hunger

As Kenya prepares to declare a national emergency in response to food shortages, the government's agricultural policies have come under growing scrutiny. A proposed deal to lease land to the government of Qatar for agricultural use has received particular attention.

Qatar land deal not unique to Kenya

The reported land deal between Kenya and Qatar is not unique. The Philippines Department of Agrarian Reform said in 2007 it was looking at large tracts of land for agribusiness development under a MoU signed with China. The memo calls for the development of land to grow hybrid corn, rice and sorghum.

Move to lease land to the Qatari is ill-advised

The area around Tana Delta which the government seeks to lease to the Qatari is of immense strategic value. It is fertile, has fresh water and, more importantly, is located in a region that has the highest potential oil and gas deposits in the country as well as other mineral deposits.

Lamu port deal: Kenya to sell Tana Delta land

Proposals to sell off around 16,200 hectares of land in the Tana River delta to Qatar to grow vegetables and fruit in return for a new port in Lamu have again raised concerns for the future of the environmentally important area.

Queries as Qatar seeks to grow food in Kenya

It has now emerged that the land in question is part of the fertile Tana River delta in Coast Province, the same stretch where plans by Mumias Sugar Company to build a sugar factory have raised objections from pastoralists claiming that their animals will lack pasture and the environment will be destroyed.

China and the great global landgrab

Stephen Marks looks at the latest rush by China and countries in the middle east to sign lease agreements in poor countries for agricultural production, and what this trend means in terms of food security and access to arable land for local populations.