The East African Potato Consortium, co-chaired by Grow Africa and AGRA, aims to establish a robust potato value chain in East Africa, focusing on opportunities for value addition.
At a glance - agriculture in Kenya
Farming is at the heart of the Kenyan economy; it is a major employer and contributor to the country’s exports. Kenya is a leading producer of tea, coffee and fresh produce, with cabbages, onions, mangoes, corn, potatoes and bananas among the main crops.
The Kenyan government’s Vision 2030 affirms agriculture as the country’s economic backbone, and as vital to attaining its ambition of “a globally competitive and prosperous country with a high quality of life”. Under Vision 2030, the government is focusing on national irrigation schemes to expand food supplies and reduce food prices. It is also seeking to reduce reliance on maize, the staple food crop, by promoting other high-value food crops, establishing a fertilizer plant in Kenya, and partnering with the Brazilian government to help farmers gain access to affordable machinery. The government is reviewing many of its agriculture policies, looking at livestock, organic farming, fisheries and specific value chains within the agricultural sector.
Grow Africa’s work in Kenya
Kenya was one of the first countries to join Grow Africa. Grow Africa’s recent work in Kenya has focused on creating partnerships with domestic companies and Grow Africa supported the establishment of two initiatives in the maize and potato value chains. A gap analysis on the maize value chain identified problems with market access post-harvest, and Grow Africa has worked with the East African Grain Council (EAGC), TechnoServe and the non-profit organization ACDI/VOCA to source investment in this area to reduce losses and increase grain value.
The East Africa Potato Consortium recognizes the growing importance of potatoes as an affordable and desirable source of food for urban populations. This presents a valuable opportunity for smallholder farmers, and Grow Africa is driving an agenda to strengthen this value chain in collaboration with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
In Kenya, there are six global LOI companies, including Swiss Re, Coca-Cola, Vodafone and Syngenta, and four domestic, among them Value Farms and the Meru Potato Processing Cooperative Ltd. Between them, the 10 LOI companies have pledged investment of US$32 million, $4.2 million of which has already been invested. Almost 3.3 million smallholders have been reached, predominantly through input products and services, financial or data services and through training.
Sorghum, oilseeds and dairy are the priority value chains, where investment promises to have maximum impact. Sorghum has evolved from a commodity for subsistence farmers into a popular household and industrial crop. East African Breweries, Nigeria Breweries and Ghana Breweries have started using sorghum for beverage production, as an alternative to barley.
Soya and sunflower seeds have become strategic commodities. Soya beans are a lucrative commercial crop and a remedy for nitrogen-starved soils, increasing yields of other crops planted in rotation. Sunflower is a source of high-quality edible oil, and research by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute shows it can improve the food security of small-scale farmers because of its short growth season and adaptability to crop rotation. Grow Africa is working with SoyAfric, BIDCO Oil and Western Fresh Industries (WEFI) in this area. To develop the dairy sector, Grow Africa is working with Brookside and Danone.
Going forward, Grow Africa will also be pursuing greater use of information technology in agriculture to provide advice to farmers, link them to financial services via mobile phone, use mobile money transfers to pay for goods and services and use an e-platform to provide inputs to small-scale farmers through private suppliers.
Grow Africa will also be working to promote youth entrepreneurship through agribusiness. To date, an entrepreneurship programme has trained more than 550 young people from 19 districts across Kenya in business skills and entrepreneurship, and is encouraging these trainees to be enterprise development agents.
Grow Africa Contacts
Projects, Platforms, and Working Groups
Commercializing smallholder production is of critical importance in securing a sustainable future of African agriculture.
Government - Driven Investment Opportunities
Opportunities to invest in agriculture projectsView Investment Opportunities