Climate Smart Agriculture – Opportunities in the Kenyan Horticulture Sector

The development and steady growth of Kenya’s horticulture sector in the past three decades is widely acknowledged as a success story. But the negative effects of climate change pose a threat to the thriving sector. Climate Smart Agriculture can be part of the solution. To identify business opportunities and facilitate the uptake of Climate Smart solutions a study was carried out in 2019.

Opportunities for the horticulture sector

The agriculture sector as a whole directly contributes 26% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment to millions of Kenyans. As a subsector of agriculture, horticulture has the greatest commercial significance. Kenya’s large export-oriented horticulture sector profits from the increasing demand abroad. Another driver of sector growth is the rise in demand for fresh produce domestically. To keep up with this trend, relatively high and steady levels of productivity become ever more important.

Climate-smart soils: testing soil health in Western Kenya
Beeld: ©2016CIAT/GeorginaSmith
Climate-smart soils: testing soil health in Western Kenya

A need for Climate Smart Agriculture

Yields and income levels in Kenya’s rain-fed agricultural sector are seriously affected by climate change, posing a growing challenge to the sector. Small and medium sized enterprises are particularly affected. Rainfall has become unpredictable, with periods of drought increasingly being interspersed with periods of excessive rainfall. Changes in precipitation have direct consequences for plant growth and facilitate the increased presence and outbreaks of pests and diseases.

Dealing with climate related consequences within horticulture requires the adoption of improved products, approaches and technologies. A key question answered by this study is how to better match the growing demand for climate smart agriculture solutions in Kenya with the existing (Dutch) supply of innovative climate smart products, techniques, technologies and services. The study also identifies the most promising market segments for companies to become active in:

  • Products and technologies aimed at farm productivity improvements
  • Forecast, agricultural advice and market-data services
  • Post-harvest handling and management (including storage)
SunCulture drip irrigation system
Beeld: ©SunCulture
SunCulture drip irrigation system

Entering the market

Kenyan SME farmers are aware of the risks of climate change to their horticultural businesses. Yet they do not always invest in incorporating climate smart solutions on their farm. Getting access to the Kenyan market is therefore not always straightforward and easy. To give more insight into efforts companies can make to successfully enter the market the report:

  • Analyzed the (technical) gaps in the use of effective climate-smart technologies by Kenyan medium and small-scale commercial horticulture farms and their supply chain partners;
  • Identified which strategies and conditions contribute positively to the innovations leading

    to more productive and climate resilient horticulture SMEs in Kenya.

  • Highlights three different market entry models and strategies for CSA solutions, products, technologies or services.

Interested to know more? You can read the full report here.

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