Unilever and James Finlay Forced off Kenyan Tea Farming Lands

Picking Tea in Kenya. Photo by Mark Kucharski

The National Land Commission of Kenya has refused to renew the leases of several multinational tea estates, including Unilever and James Finlay, after local communities complained to officials claiming that the land had been forcibly taken during British colonization and unjustly never returned. Commission officials also believe that the multinational firms under-reported the acreage they occupied and underpaid taxes associated with the lands. As a result, a new audit of the occupied tea estate lands has been ordered and officials have promised all land rates and rent raised from land occupied by multinational tea firms will be used to benefit the local community. The lands in question are located in Kericho and Bomet counties. According to official documents, the lands appropriated from multinational firms will be passed on to the counties to hold in trust for the communities.