Investment company Centum has bought 120 acres of land in Ol Kalau, Nyandarua County, to start production of exotic herbs and vegetables for export in its first agribusiness venture.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm acquired the land at a cost of Sh89 million through Greenblade Growers Ltd, a new fully owned subsidiary.
“Through this subsidiary we acquired a 120-acre site in Ol Kalau, Nyandarua, and have established a business focused on growing herbs and vegetables primarily for EU markets,” the company says in its latest annual report.
Centum said it is currently developing the site, with some of the infrastructure including a 1,296 square metre pack house which will be used for value addition with a capacity to process 10 tonnes of fresh produce per day.
It is also building greenhouses on 14 acres of the site besides a 30,000 square metres water reservoir.
The company will export a range of horticultural produce including exotic herbs coriander, parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, lemongrass, mint and rosemary.
Netherlands will be the key export market, followed by the United Kingdom.
The company says it will expand its investment in the agricultural sector as part of its overall diversification and growth strategy.
“We intend to significantly scale up our investment in this sector going forward through the acquisition of larger tracts of land, diversification into further agricultural products, and development of end-to-end value chain infrastructure,” Centum says in the report.
The company said it will buy more land parcels in Kenya and the region as it steps up its investment in the sector.
Agriculture is the latest industry Centum has ventured into.
The company has also moved to invest in the education sector with other institutional investors, recently buying land on Kiambu Road for the establishment of the first of a chain of private schools in the region.
Centum is also set to invest in the healthcare sector and recently hired Dr Farai Shonhiwa to this end.
Her experience in healthcare includes clinical medicine and several senior management positions within Life Healthcare Group, a leading healthcare provider in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“In November 2015, Dr Farai Shonhiwa was appointed Head of Healthcare with the responsibilities of development and execution of our healthcare strategy” Centum said.
SOURCE: Business Daily