New road opens up Laikipia’s interior for investment

Newly-built The Route Hotel in Rumuruti. Such investments are expected to spur tourism in Laikipia County. PHOTO | ANTHONY NJAGI. | NATION MEDIA GROUP Land adjacent to the tarmac, which was being used for grazing, has been cleared for commercial development.

Expansive greenhouses have mushroomed as investors capitalise on ease of movement.

Laikipia is the latest frontier for horticultural investment.

The landscape of Laikipia County is fast changing.

Scores of shiny greenhouses are popping up in the countryside, replacing what has been rolling plains of grazing land, shrubs and bushes.

Driving along the newly-tarmacked Rumuruti-Sipili-Kinamba road in the west, vast swathes of land adjacent to the tarmac, which for ages have only been used for grazing, have been fenced off and cleared for commercial development.

The completion of this transformative transport infrastructure a year ago has attracted new businesses.


Expansive greenhouses have mushroomed as investors capitalise on ease of movement provided by the tarmacked road to access virgin land.

“With no permanent rivers, the horticultural entrepreneurs are using underground water. That’s why, as a government, we are now focusing on harnessing water to bring in even small-scale farmers on board to increase the acreage under irrigation,” says Laikipia County Water Executive Mr Njenga Kahiro.

Laikipia is the latest frontier for horticultural investment. IRRIGATION According to the county’s 2019 statistical abstract, the land under irrigation has increased 15 times in a span of two years –- from 258 hectares in 2016 to 3,758 hectares in 2018.Dozens of shopping centres are springing up along the highway with entrepreneurs striving to meet the housing demand for the growing number of labourers working in the horticultural farms.Thanks to the robust road network, horticultural firms are now able to source labourers from far-flung areas with ease, to the convenience of the workers who are picked up and dropped by buses just a walking distance from home. BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT In its latest survey on overall county business environment for MSEs, the Kenya Institute for Public Policy and Research Analysis (Kippra) ranked Laikipia among the top five counties.Luoniek shopping centre on the extreme north-western edge of the county seems to vindicate this survey as it has seen the number of licensed retail businesses grow from 50 to 120 in less than three years.The county’s new appeal to investment is not only in the horticultural sub-sector. AVIATION A local airline, Let’s Fly Aviation, recently started four flights daily between Nairobi’s […]

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