K is for Kenya

K is for Kenya

Date: 29 September 2014

Agriculture is a hugely important part of Kenya’s economy. Over 87% of the population works on the land, and farming accounts for around 30% of the country’s GDP. The main crops it produces are maize, tea, sugar cane, coffee and wheat, and its most important export crops are tea, cut flowers, tobacco and coffee. Although most of the farming in Kenya is large-scale, conventional, high-input farming (Kenya uses more than 50% more chemical fertiliser per hectare than the average across sub-Saharan Africa) there is a small percentage of organic farming: around 13,000 farmers are certified organic and they work on 0.02% of Kenya’s agricultural land.

There are also a large number of agroecological projects taking place across Kenya. Several organizations have been involved with encouraging farmers to grow, sell and eat African leafy vegetables. These are green leafy vegetables which are high in vitamins and minerals. One programme which helped over 200 households grow these vegetables was able to increase the number of varieties from 28 to 40 species. In addition 63% of these households increased their incomes by selling their produce. In around 80% of households producing African leafy vegetables, it was the women who were able to control their sale.

Photo: A Keyan farmer. Photo credit: CGIAR

About the A-Z of food sovereignty project

The A-Z of Food Sovereignty in Africa shows the positive alternatives to corporate-led agriculture. A new letter was posted each day in the lead up to World Food Day arrived on 16 October 2014.

Africa’s small-scale food producers already know how to produce enough food sustainably to feed themselves but the political and economic rules which govern the food system are set against them. These rules are written by and for multinational companies and political elites, in support of a global food system that benefits them rather than the millions of smallholders and family farmers who produce the food and get little in return.