How recently formed Efarm Housing Co-operative aims to redefine affordable housing and agribusiness in Kenya

    Greenhouse farming in Kenya

    Cooperatives are a juggernaut in Kenya. The country has the strongest cooperative movement in Africa which plays a key role in social and economic development. Government statistics indicate that the movement controls a sizeable portion of the GDP, employing thousands of people and creating economic opportunities for millions of others.

    Driven by the major spirit of pooling resources together for proper utilization, members always derive benefits from social to financial empowerment.

    There are numerous categories of cooperatives offering members various forms of opportunities and benefits, ranging from agribusiness development to housing.

    Owning a home is more of a journey and investing in it should be profitable and worth every bit of your time, investment and resources.

    E-farm Housing Co-operative Society envisions to define the whole experience of home ownership, property and agribusiness development.

    According to its founding chairman Mr. Wallace Mwaura, one of the challenges that bedevils those aspiring to own homes is the high cost of land. “Majority of desired areas where one can live and commute to one’s work place without a hustle is difficult to get. E-farm wants to solve this problem in a major way,” he says.

    How can they solve this?

    To begin with, E-farm has an affordable housing project where each unit goes for Kshs 980,000. This targets lower to middle income individuals who are single and/or young with families or are looking to start a family.

    Mr. Mwaura defines affordable housing as a structure that is affordable for the needs of low to moderate income households. He goes on that such housing should be priced so that these households are also able to meet other basic living costs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education.

    The units are improved studio apartments with a defined extra room that can be used as a bedroom. “Normally, such a house which is 40sqm would cost close to Kshs 2 million but we are offering it at nearly half that cost.”

    He notes that: “There are many young people living on rented premises with dreams of owing their own homes. We are giving them a stepping stone towards living their dreams of home ownership.”

    Wallace Mwaura, founding chairman, E-farm Housing Co-operative Society
    Wallace Mwaura, founding chairman, E-farm Housing Co-operative Society

    “We want you to start that journey today with E-farm,” he adds.

    Besides just acquiring land and developing homes in it, the co-operative has developed other forms of value add.

    Zao Bora

    “We have an Agri-housing system dubbed Zao Bora to promote agribusiness which has a certain promise of returns, ranging from 30 per cent to 80 per cent. The proceeds that we get from agribusiness also goes to subsidize the cost of materials and labour force hence making us sell houses at a cheaper cost,” observes the chairman.

    E-farm has partnered with Perfect Pick Limited, a specialist agribusiness firm to ensure the project is a success.

    Zao Bora has insurance coverage which makes the deal juicier according to the chairman.

    The 1st phase of Zao Bora project is in Embu while the 2nd Phase in Mwea zone. Members have an option of buying and leasing a plot at affordable rates, says Mr. Mwaura.

    Phase 3 is touted to be the biggest project ever done by the co-operative. It is a 300 Acres of land project with a quarter an acre selling at Kshs 300,000 and a lease of Kshs. 100,000 for five years. E-farm will be growing Maize, vegetables and fruits for 3 seasons harvest per year.

    Plans are also underway to establish a reserve to advance credit to members with little or no interests at all. For instance when members invest in Zao Bora project, one can get an emergency loan of up to 50 per cent his contribution. One can repay under two weeks with zero interest.

    Barely two months since setting up shop, E-farm memberships currently stands at 500 which is growing day by day.

    One can register with Kshs 2,000 and buy minimum shares of Kshs. 5,000. Thereafter enjoy a product or investment of choice.