This is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors of the economy and the second largest foreign exchange earner after tea. In 2011 horticulture realised a 19.7 per cent increase in earnings, posting Kshs68.12 billion ($801.411 million) compared to Kshs57 billion ($670.6 million) in 2010, mainly due to better international prices. It employs 4.5 million people in flower farms and other related businesses and contributes 11 per cent of Kenya’s GDP.
Horticulture is the fastest growing within the agricultural sector, recording an average growth of 15 to 20 per cent annually. The 4.5 million people that horticulture directly employs work in production, processing, and marketing, while another 3.5 million people benefit indirectly through trade and other activities. Naivasha is host to about 50 multinational flower and horticultural companies, which provide direct employment to an estimated 100,000 people. A further 70,000 are employed in related industries like packaging, chemicals and logistics.
Floriculture has continued to flourish in Kenya, thanks to massive investments and value addition in the business. The sub-sector has maintained an average annual growth of 20 per cent, employing thousands of Kenyans, making it one of the leading sources of employment and revenue. The sector accounts for about 24 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. According to the Kenya Flower Council, floriculture is estimated to employ between 50,000 and 60,000 people directly, and many more indirectly through linked services such as sale of farm inputs, transport, packaging and banking. Though horticulture comprises fruits, vegetables and flowers, it is the latter that has stood above the rest, as its demand continues to grow, despite the harsh economic environment.
The quality of flowers and the liberation of global trade through the World Trade Organisation arrangements have helped to increase the demand in Europe, the country’s main market, and North America. Kenya supplies over 35 per cent of cut and ornamental flowers to the European Union, which consumes about 50 per cent of the total exports. The leading importers are The Netherlands (65 per cent), the UK (23 per cent), Germany, France and other EU countries. The US, Japan and Middle East markets are also growing. The main export seasons are during autumn and winter, which runs between October and May in Europe and North America.
The promotion of fish farming through the Economic Stimulus Programme has resulted in the increase of fish farmers from 8,000 in 2009 to 52,000 in 2011. In the 2011/12 financial year, the Ministry of Fisheries was allocated about Kshs4 billion ($47.06 million) for fish farming under the Economic Stimulus Package. This has enhanced fish production, with a total of 140,000 tonnes of fish and fishery products realised in 2011. The Government is also giving credit through the Small Enterprises Scheme to fishermen to expand their activities. The fish projects were aimed at jump-starting the grassroots economy with farmers venturing into fish breeding without a lake. The Government is mobilising farmers into fish cooperatives in order to have a common marketing front. Further, it is establishing of regional fish coolers to help farmers preserve their produce. Fish farmers, however, are facing a shortage of trout that has been recommended as the best breed in nontraditional fish farming areas. Trout is cheap to rear and is profitable, but local production does not meet market demand.
Kenya has an estimated 28 million birds, 76 per cent of which are freeranging indigenous chicken, while 22 per cent are commercial layers and broilers. Other poultry species like duck, turkey, pigeon, ostrich, guinea fowl and quail make up 0.2 per cent and are becoming increasingly important. Annually, the country produces about 20 tonnes of poultry meat worth Kshs3.5 billion ($41.2 million) and 1.3 billion eggs worth Kshs9.7 billion ($114.2 million).
Rearing of pigs has become a relatively well-established industry. It has withstood periodic fluctuations of moving from large-scale to smallholder farming. The country produces an estimated 12,000 tonnes of pork worth Kshs1.2 billion (14.118 million).
Beekeeping (apiculture) is practised in most parts of Kenya, particularly in the Asals. In addition to contributing directly to household incomes, bees play an important role in plant pollination. The country produces an estimated 14,600 tonnes of honey and 140 tonnes of beeswax annually, all valued at Kshs4.4 billion ($51.8 million). Apiculture is becoming increasingly popular in rural areas because of the low investment and variable costs involved.