Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project

U.S. Presidential Initiative:
Feed the Future

Funding Level:
$32.5 million

May 2010 – February 2015

Activity Goals:

  • 200,000 farmers with increased food security and incomes
  • 20,000 hectares of land under improved technologies or management practices
  • 140,000 rural households benefitting from United States Government intervention

Activity Accomplishments (as of June 2014):

  • 93,899 individuals have received short-term agricultural sector productivity or food security training
  • 5,274 food security private enterprises (for profit), producers organizations, water users associations, women's groups, trade and business associations, and community-based organizations receiving U.S. Government assistance
  • 206,977 households benefiting from U.S. Government intervention

Key Partners:
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, Agriculture Sector Coordination Unit, Pest Control Products Board, Horticultural Crops Development Authority, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute

More than 40 public and private sector organizations, coordinated through the Government of Kenya

Activity Locations:
21 counties within the 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, and Kitui.


The Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project 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.


Enhance farm productivity by providing training in crop production skills, innovative technologies, and farm business management.

Increase processing and value addition by educating farmers and food manufacturers to improve postharvest handling, grading, processing, packaging, branding, and risk mitigation.

Advance marketing and trade through linking smallholders to local and export markets and providing technical assistance in standards certification and compliance.

Develop the business and policy environment by stronger linkages among growers, processors, exporters, policy makers, and other stakeholders, to make the Kenyan horticulture industry more competitive.

Improve family nutrition by integrating basic food safety and hygiene alongside training in food preparation and a diversified diet into every rural household impacted under the project.

Empower women and youth by creating more income generating opportunities and jobs along the value chain and improving access to resources and decision making equality.


The growth of the horticulture industry in food manufacturing, export processing, and business services provides valuable opportunities for youth employment. One company, Keitt Exporters, currently employs 153 staff at their pack house located in Nairobi near the international airport.

Keitt Exporters is a leading grower, processer, and exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables to Europe and the Middle East. The key crops they work with are divided into divisions, which include mangos, avocados, and vegetables. Each product division has an independently-run pack house.

Keitt Exporters has realized that having a young, energetic labor force is critical in ensuring that high quality products are delivered beyond customers’ expectations. Remarkably, 55 percent (33 men, 51 women) of their labor force is comprised of youth (from ages 18-30 years).

With the support of partners and business development service providers, the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project supports youth-oriented agribusiness startups and skills development. Of the more than 200,000 farmers that the project works with, 21 percent are youth. Youth entrepreneurship and willingness to experiment with new technology are vital drivers behind the modernization of Kenyan agriculture, and the promotion of farming as a business

USAID Contact:
Julius Kilungo, Activity Manager
Agriculture, Business and Environment Office
Tel: +254 208 622 000

Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project Contact:
Ian Chesterman, Chief of Party
Tel: +254 732 761 764


Updated August 2014

Last updated: October 06, 2014

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