The Laikipia Farmers Association (LFA) has in a written statement responded to Raila Odinga’s utterances asserting that he would dismantle white-owned ranches in the county if elected president.
The association has maintained that contrary to Odinga’s allegations that the owners of the ranches are in Europe, its members are working and living right in Laikipia.
“The LFA assures Mr Odinga that its members are not “in Europe” – they are living and working very hard right here on the ground in Laikipia, because that is the only way to mind a successful business. All the ranches are owned by Kenyan citizens, whatever their racial origins, or by Kenyan companies or Kenyan trusts. These are people who have constitutional rights to protection of their property and their lives,” the statement reads in part.
Laikipia Largest Employers
LFA further states that its members contributed Sh10 billion towards Laikipia County’s economy between 2014 and 2016.
“Our members’ enterprises are Laikipia’s largest employers, taxpayers, investors, and private sponsors of social projects such as education and health,”
“A recent economic survey revealed that in 2016 LFA members were employing 4,446 people on salaries of Sh1.14 billion per annum. Taxes of Sh560 million were paid to the KRA and the county – proving our productivity through enterprise”.
LFA has also reiterated its member’s role in the conservation of wildlife and promotion of tourism in the country.
“Not only do we run productive ranching operations, but also tourism businesses. And these sustain an environmental heritage of global value, for the good of Kenya’s people.
Laikipia preserves the largest population of elephants north of the Equator, is home to 49 per cent of Kenya’s black rhinos and is the second most important wildlife area in Kenya (after the Maasai Mara). These enhance Kenya’s international reputation. We could not protect these natural wonders of the world without running productive enterprises,”
Raila Odinga has been quoted by The Times saying that “There’s need for rationalisation of the ranches in Laikipia to ensure there’s more productive use of that land.”
“These ranches are too big and the people don’t even live there; they live in Europe and only come once in a while,” he told The Times.