Consider Leasing for Your Agricultural Business

Consider Leasing for Your Agricultural Business

Consider Leasing for Your Agricultural Business

The agricultural sector remains the backbone of many African economies, especially in Kenya. For budding agricultural entrepreneurs, access to land remains one of the primary barriers. However, the idea of leasing, rather than purchasing, has been gaining traction and offers multiple advantages, especially when considering the tax benefits. If you’re venturing into the agricultural sector or looking to expand, it’s essential to understand the myriad of tax incentives associated with leasing land in Kenya.

The Historical Context

Historically, land ownership has been a symbol of wealth and stability in many cultures. In Africa, the connection to land runs deep, with many viewing it as a direct link to their ancestry. However, in modern economic terms, outright land ownership might not always be the most practical or financially savvy decision, especially for those looking to break into the agricultural sector. The financial demands of purchasing land can be daunting, making leasing a more appealing option for many.

The Appeal of Land Leasing

Land leasing provides businesses with a viable alternative to land ownership. Instead of sinking a significant amount of capital into buying land, businesses can lease, freeing up capital for other operational aspects. Leasing also offers flexibility; businesses can upscale or downscale depending on their needs without the long-term commitment of ownership. This adaptability is especially crucial in the agricultural sector, where market demands, climate conditions, and crop cycles can change yearly.

The Financial Perspective

From a financial perspective, leasing can provide better cash flow for a business. Instead of large, upfront costs associated with purchasing, leasing requires periodic payments spread over the lease term. This structure can enable businesses to maintain better liquidity, ensuring they have cash on hand for other vital aspects like machinery, seeds, labor, and marketing.

The Tax Advantages

  1. Deductible Lease Payments: One of the primary advantages of leasing is the potential tax deductions. Lease payments made for agricultural use can often be deducted as a business expense, significantly reducing the taxable income of the agricultural business.

  2. VAT Exemptions: The Kenyan tax system provides certain exemptions to boost the agricultural sector. If your lease agreement includes specific agricultural machinery or equipment, you might benefit from Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions or zero-rating. This reduction can have a significant impact on your overall operational costs.

  3. Capital Allowances and Accelerated Depreciation: While the land itself isn’t depreciable, investments you make on the leased land can be. Erecting greenhouses, setting up irrigation systems, or constructing farm-related buildings might qualify for capital allowances or even accelerated depreciation. These provisions allow a portion of these investments to be deducted from your taxable income.

  4. Loss Carry-Forward: Not every agricultural venture turns a profit immediately. Some years might be tougher than others, especially for startups or those facing temporary challenges. The Kenyan tax system recognizes this and allows for losses to be carried forward to offset future profits.

  5. Land Rate Exemptions: In Kenya, counties have the discretion to set land rates. Some counties offer exemptions or reduced rates for lands used exclusively for agriculture. This exemption can lead to considerable savings over time.

  6. Government Incentives: The Kenyan government often introduces incentives to promote the agricultural sector. By choosing to lease, you might be eligible for various incentives, including tax breaks, grants, or subsidized inputs.

The Broader Impact

Leasing can also have a broader socio-economic impact. By promoting agricultural activity through leasing, more individuals can participate in the sector, leading to job creation, increased food production, and overall economic growth. This can be especially beneficial in regions facing unemployment challenges.


The potential tax benefits of leasing land for agricultural purposes in Kenya are compelling. However, as with all financial decisions, it’s essential to approach this with a comprehensive understanding. Regulations and tax benefits evolve, and what’s applicable today might change tomorrow.

If you’re considering leasing land for your agricultural business, it’s advisable to consult with professionals who understand the local landscape – both the soil and the regulations. This will ensure that you’re not only reaping the harvest from the land but also the myriad of tax advantages that Kenya offers to support its agricultural sector.