Agriculture remains a significant part of the Kenya economy, however, growth was slowed by several hurdles, most prominently a drought that the state declared to be a national disaster. Agriculture is key to Kenya’s economy, contributing 26 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 27 per cent of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors. The importance of agriculture has been emphasized in Kenya through Vision 2030, the MediumTerm Plan III, and most recently the President’s Big Four priority agenda for 2017-2022, which emphasizes the importance of 100% food and nutrition security for all Kenyans. The sector employs more than 40 per cent of the total population and more than 70 per cent of Kenya’s rural people.
Agriculture in Kenya is large and complex, with a multitude of public, parastatal, non-governmental and private sectors (FAO, 2018). The drought restrained domestic production of staple crops such as maize, leading to food scarcity and steep rises consumer inflation. Despite the lower grain output, production of horticultural crops marked an all-time high and remained crucial sources of foreign exchange earnings. Meanwhile, meeting the ambitious target set by the Big Four agenda, which aims to transform Kenya from a state incapable of satisfying domestic demand into a food-secure country, will require mitigating dependence on rainfall, diversifying the nation’s staple basket and supporting smallholders.
Farmers, who are used to rain-fed farming systems, are being pushed into dryer, more marginal areas where they become increasingly vulnerable to drought and the unpredictability of weather patterns resulting from climate change. The population increase, coupled with the expansion of agriculture into arid lands, has affected the dynamics of pastoralism, where increased competition for natural resources has sparked escalated conflict in some areas. Furthermore, there has been a marked increase in the number of people dropping out of the nomadic livelihood, often moving into settled communities which are heavily reliant on food aid.
Find out more:
Kenya Office (Nairobi Address)
Ababsy and Associate
Lornho House, 11th Floor, Suite 2
Constituency – CBD Ward
Tel: +254 728 432 712