Govt to Form Committee to Regulate Sale of Agricultural Land

A signpost indicating that the parcel of land is for sale.
A signpost indicating that the parcel of land is for sale.

Kenyans will need to seek approval from the government to sell their agricultural land if the Land Control Bill of 2023, is passed into law.

The Bill sponsored by Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo proposes the establishment of Land Control Committees in every constituency to be appointed by the Chief Land Register.

The Bill describes agricultural land as an area not designated as a city or urban area under the Urban Areas and Cities Act, of 2011.

“The Lands Committee shall review and grant consent to any sale, charge, transfer, grant, exchange for value or no value, lease, assignment, grant of easement or right of way in relation to agricultural land,” the Bill, which is currently in the first reading stage reads.

CS Njeru
Land Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru addressing 9th Global Affordable Housing Conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
Zachariah Njeru

Notably, the Committee will also have powers to review and grant consent for any combination or subdivision of agricultural land. 

“Unless with the express consent of a Land Control Committee, any transaction affecting agricultural land situated within a land control area shall be void,” the Bill reads. 

Inherited land or land bequeathed through a will not be subject to approval by the Land Control Committee.

The Committee will though review such transactions if the land is to be divided into two or more parcels to be held under separate titles. 

Similarly, transactions involving National and/or County Governments as a party will not be subject to review by the Committee. 

Additionally, the Cabinet Secretary for Lands will have the power to declare through a Gazette notice, a piece of land in an urban or city area as agricultural land.

Members of the Committee will include the Chairperson, Deputy County Commissioner (who will act as secretary of the Committee), Sub-county administrator, two persons (one man and one woman, aged sixty years and above), and two other persons where one must be a youth. 

The youth in the committee must have demonstrated knowledge and experience in land law, surveying, land administration or dispute resolution.

Similarly, the Committees will not be involved in cases where a Settlement Fund Trustee is a party. 

“A person who willfully refuses or neglects to appear before a land control committee commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both,” part of the Bill reads in part. 

A photo of Kenya National Assembly.
A photo of Kenya National Assembly.
Parliament of Kenya