Agriculture is vital for Kenya’s economy. The sector not only contributed 22.4 percent to the Kenyan GDP in 2021, one of the highest shares in Africa, but also was the main source of employment in the country. In 2022, mainly due to the overall economic impacts caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the agricultural sector slightly declined with 1.9 percent in comparison to 2021.
Performance of agricultural sectors
Kenya's main agricultural products include maize, sugarcane, tea, coffee, and horticulture. While maize and sugarcane are mostly grown for the domestic markets, tea, coffee, and horticulture make up the country's major exports. As of 2020, the performance of such products varied strongly. Sugarcane production increased by roughly 50 percent due to the availability of mature cane. On the other hand, coffee output declined by 18 percent as a result of bad weather in plantation areas. Besides, the marketed production of livestock grew to 1.1 billion U.S. dollars and fishery reached the highest output value in recent years - around 221 million U.S. dollars.
Agriculture as a key foreign-exchange earner
Food items and agricultural raw materials corresponded to roughly 60 percent of Kenya's total merchandise exports in 2020. Tea and horticulture – including fruits, vegetables, and cut-flowers – constitute Kenya’s major cash crops. Together, they generated roughly 2.7 billion U.S. dollars in export earnings in 2022. With a smaller output, coffee also considerably contributed to agricultural trade, adding some 264 million U.S. dollars. Despite the economic relevance, commercial crops accounted for a small share of agricultural production. As of 2020, tea and coffee represented only 2.3 percent of Kenya's total crops output, which was mostly dominated by sugarcane and maize.
Challenges to the agricultural sector
Agriculture covers roughly half of Kenya's territory. However, only 21 percent of this area is arable land, which restrains the expansion of farming activities. Unfavorable weather conditions also impose obstacles to the sector. Kenya’s agriculture relies deeply on rainfall for irrigation. The country has typically two rainy seasons but, in recent years, it has been more frequently hit by droughts as a consequence of climate change. On top of that, locust infestations also affect agricultural production. The results are constraints in crop and livestock outputs, an increase in food prices, and a threat to food security. For instance, nearly eight million people lacked sufficient food for consumption in Kenya as of November 2021.
This text provides general information. Statista assumes no
liability for the information given being complete or correct.
Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date
data than referenced in the text.