Green Horticulture in Kenya: Opportunities and Challenges for Farmers

How can Kenyan farmers increase the market share of their produce both locally as well as in Europe? What is holding them back and how to overcome those barriers? The report “Introducing Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha in Kenya”, as part of our GOALAN project, offers an enhanced analysis from a local and international perspective as well as suggestions for the way forward.

Horticulture farmers with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have been contributing to an upward trend in agriculture around the Lake Naivasha Basin (LNB) in Kenya. They have significantly increased the country’s fresh fruit and vegetable (FFV) supply. The demand for their produce notwithstanding, Kenyan MSMEs have faced major challenges, including limited access to organised markets, the lack of a deeper understanding of market dynamics, and scarce capacities to serve organised markets both locally and internationally and be more competitive.

The GOALAN project has so far provided capacity building to Kenyan horticultural MSMEs, especially on issues related to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) practices and linked them to financial institutions and exporters.

In a bid to further close the gap of MSMEs’ access to markets, the GOALAN project conducted market studies in Kenya and in Europe to identify challenges but also map out opportunities. The report “Introducing Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha in Kenya – Local and International Market Analysis Reports” presents findings of two separate studies: one examining the local context, conducted by WWF-Kenya, a GOALAN project partner, and the other looking at the European market trends and opportunities, conducted by the CSCP.

The local analysis reveals that niche markets in Kenya still offer new possibilities for MSMEs, the main challenge being the power of upper hand buyers to define and dominate the process. Terms of engagement are mainly not in the form of written contracts; buyers don’t share market information with producers and they determine not just the prices but also the quantities and units of measurement for all parties involved. Considering that fruit and vegetable are highly perishable products, producers mostly have no option but to become price takers.

The international market analysis, on the other hand, highlights a growing demand for healthy and sustainable food in Europe that has triggered increased import volumes of fresh fruit and vegetables from non-EU countries, including Kenya. Nonetheless, the report underlines that stringent health and quality regulations imposed by the EU on importers can only be met by a few Kenyan producers. To strengthen Kenyan farmers, supply chains have to become more transparent and participating actors have to be certified. The GOALAN project has already trained more than 140 Kenyan MSMEs on the required certificates. This will considerably increase their chances of exporting their high-quality produce to foreign markets.

For a complete list of recommendations and further details, please check out the full report.

For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.