Posted By in AgriProFocus Kenya
Posted 1 February 2017 at 10:27

What can Ethiopia learn from Kenya in Horticulture Sector Development?

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AgriProFocus Kenya recently facilitated a horticulture study tour by SNV Ethiopia and Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. These two partners are implementing a programme called Horticultural Livelihoods, Innovation and Food safety in Ethiopia (Horti-LIFE), while SNV Kenya is implementing  a programme called Kenya Market led Horticulture Programme (HortIMPACT) in Kenya.  The tour consisted of programme presentations, select stakeholder meetings and field visits to beneficiaries. 

Objectives of the tour:

     · To understand the Kenya national experience in horticulture development.

     · To learn from SNV Kenya experience in agricultural development in horticulture sector.

The Ethiopian delegation, led by the State Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources, comprised of high level officials from the national directorates and regional bureaus directorates dealing with horticulture. SNV Ethiopia on the other hand was represented by the Agriculture Sector Lead and the managers for HortiLIFE programme.

The following stakeholders in Kenya were visited: Sunripe Limited, Horticulture Crops Directorate, Latia Resource Centre, Wamu Investments Limited, Linking Industry with Academia, Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation, Kenya Horticulture Council, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services and SNV projects in Limuru and Narok.

The tour explored among others, the following questions:

   § What is the status of the current national strategy on horticultural sector development?

   § What resources are available to implement the strategy? How is the impact monitored and evaluated?

   § What strategy is there to ensure smallholder farmers have access to extension services?

   § How are government institutions organised to implement the horticulture strategy? 

   § What is the status of out-grower schemes? How are they managed?

   § How do Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) students acquire practical skills that are                   relevant to industry?

Lessons Learned from this tour:

    § A market led approach is key to the development of the horticulture sector. There's need to look at what the market needs, and then work on production.

     §  The private sector plays a critical role in ensuring efficient extension services in Kenya. 

      § Public Private Partnerships – Symbiotic relationships between all the stakeholders – ends up being a win-win for everybody in the horticulture space.   

      § Kenya has efficient legal, regulatory frameworks KEPHIS and KHC

      § Government creates an enabling environment, in addition to complementing private sector –e.g providing produce handling facilities ( Horticulture Crops Directorate has produce handling facilities near the airport for lease or hire).

      § Best practices such as diversification as evidenced at one of the HortIMPACT beneficiary's farm in Limuru where he has peas, beans, bananas, potatoes, flowers for export, dairy and tomatoes. Michael has also installed a biogas plant for energy. 

      §  Kenya has strong phytosanitary systems and efficient traceability mechanisms that make Kenya's products competitive at the global market. Efforts are being made to apply the same to the domestic market.

      §   Streamlining the various government institutions under one authority, in this case Agriculture and Food Authority has ensured better sector coordination and increased efficiency. 

      §  Developing a horticulture focused strategy has given the sector clear priority areas for development.

      §  Development partners play a critical role in complementing the government's role in supporting the horticulture sector in Kenya. 

      §  Brokers play a critical role in the value chain and need to be properly managed. 

      §  Key lessons in developing good business cases from SNV Kenya programme will inform business case development for SNV Ethiopia's HortiLIFE. 

      § A good working relationship at the cooperative level is important. Cohesiveness and common interests of farmers increases productivity and build trusts.

Horticulture will be one of our thematic areas this year, and if you would like to discuss opportunities for collaboration, particularly on linking and learning, please send us an email to