Kenya is a country located in East Africa with a population of about 47.6 million people. The climate in Kenya varies from tropical along the coast to arid inland. Despite this, the agricultural industry is a vital part of the Kenyan economy, accounting for about 24% of the GDP and employing more than 70% of the Kenyan workforce.
The main crops grown in Kenya include coffee, tea, maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, millet, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, fruits, tobacco, and sugarcane. Kenya is the world’s leading exporter of black tea and second-leading exporter of green tea. Coffee is also an important export crop; however, production levels have fluctuated in recent years due to drought and disease. In 1999/2000, agriculture contributed 26 percent to Kenya’s GDP compared to 24 percent in 2008/09. The sector has since regained some momentum and was responsible for 27 percent of GDP in 2010/11. pastureland comprises about 80 percent of the total land under agriculture production.
The government has introduced several initiatives to modernize the agricultural sector through irrigation schemes, research and training programs, financial assistance to farmers, and setting up agro-based industries. However, these initiatives have not always been successful due to corruption and mismanagement. In addition, droughts and floods are common occurrences in Kenya which can lead to widespread crop failure and loss of livestock. Deforestation is also a major problem as farmers clear land for agriculture without replanting trees which leads to soil erosion and loss of fertility.
Agriculture in Kenya plays a vital role in the Kenyan economy despite some challenges that it faces. The government has introduced several initiatives to modernize the sector but more needs to be done to address issues such as corruption, deforestation, and soil erosion. Droughts and floods are also common occurrences that can lead to widespread crop failure and loss of livestock. Despite these challenges, there are many opportunities for investors interested in the agricultural sector in Kenya.