Introducing Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha in Kenya

Horticulture is key to Kenya’s economy. In 2016, it contributed USD 1.03 billion to the country’s GDP. The avocado on your sandwhich, the mango in your morning smoothie, the beans and brussel sprouts in your supper may all have originated in Kenya – and those are just some of the Kenyan horticultural export to the EU. However, the sector poses serious environmental impacts such as unsustainable water consumption and pollutions due to the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. Left untreated these can damage the soil and jeopardise the less than 50% arable land available for agriculture in Kenya.

Lack of skill and knowledge in sustainable horticulture practices among smallholder farmers as well as micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), plus the lack of interest among the youths to work in the sector are exacerbating the problems. This SWITCH Africa project seeks to address the challenges by providing new capacities to the farmers and MSMEs to grow vegetables and fruits in a more sustainable manner, adding value to horticultural products, opening up new markets for those products, improving access to finance particularly for young and women entrepreneurs, and by working with local governments to promote green public procurement.

The project targets three counties of Nakuru, Nyandarua and Narok, and will select and closely engage with at least 140 MSMEs, local governments and financial institutions. The three counties contribute 70% of the country’s floriculture; a sector that overall contributes to almost 1.3% of the country’s GDP and a lifeline to local communities.

The CSCP contributes its expertise in Trainings and Capacity Building, Sustainable Value Chains and Business Models, Policy and Sustainable Procurement. In particular, we will provide capacity building and training programmes on sustainable horticulture practices to MSMEs, and equip young farmers/entrepreneurs with the capacity to train others through a tailor-made Train the Trainer programme. Over the course of the project, we will enhance market access for high value horticultural products and develop SCP value chain guidelines. Working with policymakers, the CSCP will support dialogues between MSMEs and local governments to promote green public procurement of green horticultural products. We will also be involved in developing policy recommendations and attending high level policy events.

The project supports the Kenyan government in achieving its sustainable development goals (SDGs). With its various interventions, the project addresses the issues of poverty reduction (SDG 1), good health and well-being (SDG 3, by promoting good nutrition from sustainable horticultural products), gender equality (SDG 5, by encouraging women entrepreneurs’ participation), local economic growth (SDG 8), reduced social inequalities (SDG 10, by engaging young people and women), and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12, by supporting farmers and entrepreneurs to adopt SCP practices in production and helping consumers identify sustainable horticultural products in the market using certification).

The project is part of the EU-funded SWITCH Africa Green Programme, and co-implemented with WWF Kenya who have extensive experience, networks and expertise working with various actors in Kenya’s agricultural value chains.