What is the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project?
The Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project, part of the U.S. Government’s “Feed the Future” initiative, is improving food security and nutrition and raising incomes for over 200,000 smallholder farmers. The project is helping farmers to grow more and better quality fruits, vegetables, and flowers, with a special focus on strengthening the value chains related to eight crops: Sweet potato, Irish potato, passion fruit, mango, banana, tomato, cabbage, peas and beans. The Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project is also expanding the processing of horticultural produce, linking small-scale farmers with local and export markets, and improving the overall agricultural policy environment.
Project Duration and Budget
May 2010 – February 2015
Who implements the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project?
The program works in partnership with 33 Kenyan public and private sector organizations, including the Government of Kenya, to deliver technical and marketing services.
Where does the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project work?
The project works in 22 counties within the Feed the Future high rainfall and semi-arid target zones of Kenya. Target production counties include Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kericho, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Siaya, Homabay, Kisumu, Nyamira, Kisii and Migori in the western region, and Meru, Tharaka, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Taita-Taveta in eastern regions of Kenya.
What does Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project do?
Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project links small-scale farmers to input suppliers for improved and certified seeds and other planting materials. It assists farmers with testing of soil and water, and water harvesting. It creates demonstration farms and provides training in crop production and modern farm management to increase productivity.
Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project assists farmers to upgrade produce quality, introduce new products, and add value to products before marketing in order to maximize income. Interventions include educating farmers about grading, processing, packaging, branding, postharvest handling, and risk mitigation.
Improves marketing and trade
The project provides market data to stakeholders in the horticulture industry and closely monitors trends in export markets. This enables project specialists to provide strategic analysis on key issues affecting growth and sustainability.
Improves the business environment
Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project facilitates consultations among growers, processors, exporters, policy makers, and other stakeholders, on government policy, market infrastructure, input supply, and certification, and other issues that improve the horticulture sector.
How is the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project making a difference?
To date, the project has assisted 112,676 smallholder farmers to adopt good agricultural practices that increase their yields, incomes and improve nutrition. Cumulative gross sales by the project’s supported growers increased by 162 percent from the first year of implementation to Ksh 3.1 billion ($38 million) as of May 2013.
Twelve million vines of orange flesh sweet potato have been produced and distributed to smallholder farmers. These are dramatically increasing commercial production and the availability of this highly nutritious food. Farmers involved in the project are producing more than 1,000 hectares of passion fruit, representing about one quarter of the total area under passion fruit production in Kenya, while 20 new passion fruit nurseries are providing more than two million high-quality seedlings per year.
Approximately 2,300 farmers have signed contracts with Vegpro and Meru Greens to supply French beans to European markets.
What key challenges does the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project face?
Over the last three decades, the Kenyan vegetables export business has built its reputation and commercial success with peas and beans as the flagship products. The sector experienced tough times in 2012-2013 due to a rapid rise in production costs, depressed prices in the major European markets, lack of procurement discipline by farmers and exporters, the vulnerability of crops during drought, excessive rainfall, and pests and diseases. The European Union has increased the level of surveillance checks due to increased food safety issues. As a result, Kenyan exporters have moved away from smallholder sourcing, and exports have declined significantly. The project is working to overcome this challenge with a Farm Infrastructure Development program and training for farmers on agro-chemical compliance.
For more information:
Ian Chesterman, Chief of Party
Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project
Tel: +254 732 761 764
Julius Kilungo, Activity Manager
Agriculture, Business and Environment Office
Tel: +254 208 622 000
Last updated: August 27, 2013