Sustainable and responsible sourcing of fresh produce from Kenya

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) promotes and supports continuous inclusive and sustainable development of the horticulture industry and  commissioned a study to update the previous study that was conducted in 2016. EKN hopes that this study provides the Dutch and Kenya traders/investors and farmers of fruit and vegetables with useful insights on the dynamics of the horticultural market in Kenya, EU and the UK. It gives traders/investors advise on how they can identify and source environmentally friendly and socially responsible produce from Kenya.

Find the full sourcing report here.

Find the full report on the demand of fruits and vegetables in Europe here.

The demand for sustainably sourced fruits and vegetables from Kenya is on the rise, driven by more conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for responsibly sourced produce. There are some clear opportunities for Kenya in meeting the increasing demand for sustainable and organic products in the EU market. Goods imported from Kenya to NL increased from 403 mln in 2015 – to 484 mln in 2020. The Netherlands is the main entrance point for fresh fruit and vegetables into Europe. Kenya and the Netherlands both have a strong ambition to contribute to sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12).

Already in 2012, Dutch retailers and traders launched the Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV). Today, SIFAV has become a pan-European initiative, all committed to the objective of making the procurement of fruit and vegetables from Africa, Asia and South America 100% sustainable. There are already a number of inspiring examples, like the “Living Wage Avocado”.  This report includes several inspiring examples, provides you with practical advice on certification in Kenya and tips on how to source environmentally and socially responsible products.

Sustainable sourcing has many benefits, from better conditions for producers, a positive impact on environment and soil (“doing the right thing”), to making your company future proof by having better risk mitigation (“doing the smart thing”). In a world where change is more frequent and more pronounced, companies can use sustainability strategies as a way to manage supply scarcity risks and to improve their ability to cope with an emerging market demand and ambitions to reduce waste. A focus on sustainability can in fact create new business opportunities.

The living wage avocado from Eosta works on leaving no one behind

The study has put forward a contextual background, reviews the economic situation and pertinent opportunities and challenges related to sustainable and responsible sourcing of fresh produce from Kenya, outlining the horticultural production trends along with export trends for main fruits and vegetables and main actors in the industry. The study has successfully highlighted the Kenya certification and permits requirements including producer certification and exporters conventional certification and reviews the logistics arrangement for export of horticulture products to EU and UK from Kenya primarily with respect to air freight and sea freight.

A farmer working on sustainable tomato production

Eventually, the study presents a summary of major trends, opportunities, challenges and advice including, major trends in export of fruits from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to EU (including the UK); The trend in trade between the SSA and the EU leads to the conclusions that:

 The main reserve for developing trade in processed fruit and vegetables is in other markets, particularly in sub- Saharan Africa;

  • Similarly, the strong growth in imports of fruit juices reflects existing local and regional demand that could be served by local manufacturing units; an increase  in fruit juices.
  • Finally, in the case of processed tomatoes and fruit juices, a staple ingredient in many sub-Saharan African diets, local processing of tomatoes must also partly explain the drop-in imports from the EU.

Over the period between 2002 – 2018, the three (3) main highlights are as follows:

  • The fruit and vegetable export landscape from SSA to the EU has remained broadly similar over the past 15 years;
  • Senegal has emerged in the top five SSA supplier countries to the EU; Kenya and Senegal are emerging as efficient suppliers of non-banana fruit and vegetable exports.
  • Demand side study can be also read here.

This updated report assists buyers and retailers in their journey to source sustainably from Kenya. We realize that this report may not explain all there is to know about sustainable sourcing. However, this report will provide you with practical information. It gives you clear insights, will help you to make decisions and gives advice on how to source responsibly. By sharing best practices in sourcing, we work together towards sustainable value chains.

Would you like to learn more about our activities or do you have any questionsPlease send an email to We give regular updates on developments in the agriculture sector in Kenya on this website and on our Twitter @NLAgriKenya