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How Green Public Procurement Could Boost Sustainable Horticulture in Kenya

With the rapid growth of the horticulture industry around the Lake Naivasha Basin, Kenya, the basin has become increasingly important as an economic hub for the country. Using the recommendations of this GOALAN project policy brief, public authorities and institutions have the opportunity to engage in green public procurement by procuring fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly from smallholder farmers. In turn, this would foster local sustainable development and promote the adoption of sustainable consumption and production practices.

Kenya is one of the main exporters of horticultural products among developing countries, with horticulture accounting for two-thirds of Kenyan’s growth in agricultural exports. Horticultural micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have significantly increased the country’s fresh fruit and vegetable supply. However, access to organised markets is a major challenge for most MSMEs, both internationally due to high quality standards and price volatility, and locally due to the limited availability of markets for sustainable and fresh products.

Public authorities and governments are huge spenders and buyers. In Kenya, the government generally makes large food purchases for public institutions and authorities. The Kenyan government can use this advantage to support horizontal policies in support of food security, health and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and the further development of SMEs through the implementation of Green Public Procurement (GPP).

This GOALAN policy brief suggests that the three county governments in the Lake Naivasha basin should consider purchasing food for public institutions such as hospitals or schools from the MSMEs. Green Public Procurement for school meals, for example, can help expand marketing opportunities for horticultural MSMEs and in turn foster rural economies and communities by promoting growth and job creation. Such a public procurement programme would not only help create a stable demand, but also encourage the small producers to adopt and maintain sustainable farming practices. In addition, it may help reduce post-harvest loss due to failure in finding buyers in time for the perishable fresh fruit and vegetables, especially if farmers do not have cool rooms to store the harvest.

However, the policy brief notes that compliance with the legal and environmental requirements in public procurement represents a challenge to most MSMEs, which can hinder their participation in GPP processes. Moreover, the lack of capacity on the part of the MSMEs also affects their competitiveness. For local authorities, however, the unavailability of green products hampers the implementation of GPP programmes. To address this challenge, the policy brief recommends creating awareness and conducting trainings and capacity building for local procurement authorities.

For the complete recommendations and further details, please check out the policy brief.

The GOALAN project (Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha Project) funded by the EU SWITCH Africa Green Programme and implemented by the CSCP and WWF-Kenya (World Wide Fund for Nature) promotes the adoption of more sustainable production and consumption (SCP) practices along the Kenyan horticultural sector.

For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.