Working paper 8a - Improving Kenya's Domestic Horticultural Production and Marketing System: Current Competitiveness, Forces of Change, and Challenges for the Future - Volume1:Horticultural Production

Author(s):  Muendo, Kavoi; Tschirley, David; Weber, Michael


Introduction

Kenya’s horticultural sector (defined here to include fruit and vegetable production and marketing, but not flowers) has received a great deal of attention over the past decade due to the rapid and sustained growth of its exports to Europe. This impressive growth has undoubtedly contributed to increased rural incomes and reduced rural poverty in Kenya. Yet despite this growth, exports remain a small fraction of Kenya’s overall horticultural sector. For the past decade, over 90% of all fruit and vegetable production was consumed domestically, and the domestic market accounted for over 90% of the total growth in quantity of fruit and vegetable production. While over 90% of smallholder farmers in all but the arid regions of Kenya produce horticultural products, fewer than 2% do so directly for export.

This overwhelming dominance of the domestic market, combined with slower growth experienced in the export sector over the past decade, the challenges that smallholders face to continue participating in the export sector, and the possibility of more rapid growth in domestic demand, all argue for a more active focus on the potentials and constraints of domestic horticulture in Kenya. Such a focus implies also the need to assess the competitiveness of local production and marketing against that of neighboring countries such as Tanzania and Uganda. 

This paper explores these key issues in three Volumes. The overall objectives of the three Volumes are to provide a broad diagnostic overview of the horticultural sector, to identify specific constraints that limit the system’s performance, to make suggestions for selected policy and programmatic changes, and to identify key research that needs to be done to guide further investments to improve sector performance. Volume I – the present volume – focuses on the farm level, examining production and area trends, the role of horticultural production in farmer livelihoods, and farm level competitiveness with Tanzania. Volumes II and III focus, respectively, on domestic and regional marketing of horticultural products, and on technical research and regulatory issues.

 

Improving Kenya's Domestic Horticultural Production and Marketing System: Current Competitiveness, Forces of Change, and Challenges for the Future - Volume1: Horticultural Production