Agriculture is the mainstay of the Kenya economy with great potential for growth. It currently account for 24% per cent of GDP. More than a third of Kenya’s agricultural produce is exported and account for about 60% of Kenya’s total exports. The vision for agricultural sector is to be innovative, commercially oriented and modern. Agriculture offers the following investment opportunities.
1. Production Infrastructure
The country has enormous water and land resources to produce own food. Poor infrastructure contributes significantly to the low food production and accessibility throughout the year. Massive investment opportunities exist in development of multipurpose dams and irrigation infrastructure. Kenya has vast irrigation potential estimated at 540,000 ha of which only about 105,000 ha is exploited. Feasibility studies have already been completed for the following multipurpose dams: High Grand Falls, Mwache multi-purpose dams, Nandi multipurpose dam, Kiserian and Maruba dams in Machakos, Badasaa in Marasabit, Chemasusu in Baringo, Umaa
in Kitui , Nzoia dams ( Upper, Middle and Lower) in Bungoma, Thwake in Makueni, Yattta in Machakos, Koru in Nyando, Magwagwa in Sondu and Mwache Dam in Kwale.
2. Market Infrastructure:
Only 10% of Kenya’s fresh agricultural produce find its way into regional and other global markets with most of it consumed locally. However due to the perishability nature of these products, producers and marketers incur post- harvest losses ranging between 30 – 75%. This is basically due to poor transport networks, low value addition, lack of storage and preservation facilities among other factors. There is therefore enormous potential for investment in: post-harvest management facilities; grains storage; cold storage facilities; value addition; and warehouse receipting.
3. Value Addition
Potential exists for investment in value addition. This entails setting up of small to medium scale industries for value addition in several agricultural commodities including Tea, Coffee, and fruits aimed at production of branded value added products.
Investment Opportunities in Specific Crops
4. Sugarcane Development, Processing and Cogeneration
Kenya Domestic production is 520,400 Metric Tons against a demand of 743,000 metric tons with a deficit of 222,600 Metric Tons, which is met through imports. Main areas of sugarcane production include South Nyanza, consolidation of Nyando sugar belt and expansion of sugar factories in Western Kenya. Potential area available is between 1,000 to 15,000 hectares of land suitable for cane development and establishment of sugar processing especially in Busia County. Further sugarcane development potential exists in the coast region especially south coast and the Tana delta (LAPSSET- Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridors). Tied to sugarcane development is potential expansion of milling capacity, power alcohol production, electricity co-generation and other diversified by products.
There are investment opportunities for increased trade and investment in Kenya tea industry in the area of tea trade and value addition. The main areas of investment in value addition includes various branded teas, decaffeinated, instant, flavoured, iced and speciality teas (herbal, orthodox, green, purple, white, organic) and Packaging.
Investment opportunities are in the establishment of a National Coffee Roasting and Branding Plant for the Kenya Coffee Marketing Cooperatives as well as establishment of an Instant Coffee Processing Factory.
The cotton industry is currently being revitalized in Kenya and there are enormous investment opportunities in research and seed production, ginning, value addition, textile and apparels.
Tied to this is investment in commercial production of cotton and Cotton Gauze Factory; establishment of Cotton Gauze Manufacturing Plant, and establishment of Cotton Sanitary Towels Manufacturing Plant.
Kenya produces 110,000 Metric Tons of rice against an annual consumption of 420,000 Metric Tons, leading to a 310,000 Metric Tons deficit met through imports. The potential to invest in rice production is enormous in terms of capacity building and infrastructure development in order to boost production. Investment opportunities exist in expanding land under Rice cover, with a potential of 800,000 hectares under irrigation and 1.0 million hectares under rain-fed rice production.