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Organic food and farming in Kenya Archived at http://orgprints.org/14758


Paul Rye Kledal1, Habwe Florence Oyiera2, John Wanjau Njoroge3and Eustace Kiarii4

Geography Kenya is a country about as large as France with a population of 37 Million and can be divided into four climate zones. The largest zone is the low-lying arid land in the north and north east, which comprises about two-thirds of the country. It is hot and dry with sparse groundwater, and is populated mostly by nomadic pastoralists. They subsist almost exclusively on their stock of cattle, camels, sheep and goats. The second zone - along the coast - the climate is tropical and cultivated mainly in patches with coconut groves and fruits. The third and fourth zone, and by far the most productive areas, is the high tableland in the southwest above 1.500 meters, which is bisected by the Great Rift Valley leaving one third of the land area in the east and two third in the west. The eastern side is dominated by the mass of Mount Kenya, a giant extinct volcano making the Eastern highlands among the worlds richest agricultural lands. The farms here, mainly established during the British white settler period, are large compared to the rest of Kenyas many subsistence farmers, and they are predominantly export oriented within horticulture, fruits and essential oils. Kenya has two growth seasons the long and the short rain periods, running from March till June, and from October till December respectively. However, due to the varied altitudes - especially in the Central part of Kenya it is possible to grow crops all year round, which a major part of the larger farmers or wholesalers take advantage of. The temperature climate is through the year overall like California or France in the summer.

Social economy
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Dr. Paul Rye Kledal (corresponding author e-mail: Paul[a]foi.dk Institute of Food and Resource Economics, Copenhagen University, Denmark 2 Habwe Florence Oyiera, Master student and Graduate Assistant in the School of Public Health and Community Development from Maseano university, Kenya 3 John Wanjau Njoroge, Director of Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) 4 Eustace Kiarii, National Coordinator in Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN)

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenyas economy contributing 26 per cent of its GDP and 60 per cent of its export earnings. Conventional horticulture and tea alone contributes with almost half of these earnings. Approximately 80 per cent of the population lives in rural areas with three quarters of them being poor. More than half the population lives below the poverty line, and Kenya ranks among the ten most unequal countries in the world, and the fifth in Africa. Among the poor households subsistence farmers and pastoralist account for over 50 per cent. About 70 per cent of smallholder farmers are women. HIV/aids have been declared a national disaster by the government, and AIDs-related deaths represent about 40 per cent of total mortality5. There is a great need for further investments and donor aid to Kenyan agriculture, where organic farming has a long and strong tradition addressing and contributing positively to such important and interrelated issues as: poverty, food security, gender, social and environmental vulnerable farm environments as well as including smallholders to global supply chains. History The growth and development of organic agriculture (farming) in Kenya was initially an initiative of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Private Organizations. These (a group of six organizations) were the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) formed in 1986; Manor House Agricultural Centre (1984); Sustainable Agriculture Community Development Program (SACDEP formed in 1992); the Association of Better Land Husbandry formed in 1994; Baraka Agricultural College and the Sustainable Agriculture Centre for Research and Development in Africa (SACRED). From the mid 1990s efforts were shifting from isolated individual to more collaborative with the establishment of organizations such as the Kenya Organic Farmers Association (KOFA), initiated by farmers participating in KIOF extension and training programs. The association published organic farming standards for members based on standards by IFOAM and EU (KOFA 2002). KOFA wanted particularly to develop a vibrant organic market both locally and internationally for their produce. Larger companies and commercial farmers already in the export market have though organized
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UNDP Human Development Report 2005

themselves into the Kenya Organic Producers Association (KOPA). In 2005 organic agriculture stakeholders in Kenya, including KOPA and KOFA, formed the umbrella network KOAN to support the continuing successful growth of the organic sector The present organic production base In table 1 the organic production sector has been illustrated in accordance with Kenyas 8 provinces. Since the organic farm sector itself is basically organized around a minor number of large farm enterprises, or various supply organizations based on community-, faith- or just farmer cooperation, the number of these enterprises is shown. In relation to these enterprises a large number of out growers (smallholders of various sizes) are generally included to secure the critical mass of supply either for export or national supermarket chains. Likewise the total organic area is distinguished between what is arable and what is considered wild and extensive production.
Table 1: Organic farm sector in relation to Kenyas eight Provinces (2008) Province No. of farm enterprises + supply Central Coast Eastern Nairobi North eastern Nyanza Rift Valley Western Total organizations 19 2 4 2 0 0 5 3 35 5.418 474 334 3.023 1.543 324 16 276 251 5.433 40.500 48.861 2.017 658 16 32.599 351 85.053 No. of out growers arable land (ha) Wild area/ extensive (ha) Total (ha)

154 100 6.480

32.640 73.140

Source: KOAN, Encert, field data (2008)

As illustrated in table 1 The Kenyan organic sector consist of 35 farm enterprises and/or supply organizations involved in packaging, domestic or export sales. More than half of them are concentrated in the Central Province, where also most of the out-growers are connected in relation to the labor intensive crop production within horticulture. The arable farmland consists of 5.433 ha, and together with the area for wild and extensive collection reaching 73.140 ha, the total organic certified area amounts to 85.053 ha.

In table 2 the major products are illustrated in accordance with the provinces. Central province dominates within horticulture, fruits, nuts, coffee and essential oils five out of the six major organic product categories Kenya produces and exports. Tea is the sixth product which is produced in the Rift Valley province around Kericho.
Table 2: Major organic produce from Kenyas eight provinces (2008)
No of farm enterprises Beans, peas, sweet corn, chilies, avocadoes, baby salad, baby vegetables, 19 spinach, potatoes, leeks, indigenous vegetables, cucumber, passion fruit, pear, oranges, bananas, raspberries, essential oils, lemon grass, rosemary, ground-, 2 4 macademia- and cashew nuts, tea, coffee Coconut oil, avocado oil Chamomile, carcade, lemon, grass, mangoes, guava, sweet bananas, Honey and wax, indigenous vegetables, tomato, 2 0 0 5 kale, spinach, onions, pepper, grains Indigenous vegetables, tomato, kale, milk, probiotic yougurt North eastern Nyanza Rift Valley Nairobi Coast Eastern Central Major products produced Provinces

Tea, paprika, birds eye chillies, taegetes, enchinecea purpea, coriander, calendula, borage, safflower, strawberry, milk, Pineapple, Chillies, onions

Western

Source: KOAN, Encert, field data (2008)

Legislation and certification There are no official policies for organic agriculture in Kenya, even though there is an increasing public interest and recognition of organic agriculture. The organic sector has developed to date without any explicit official government policy support. The ministry of Agriculture has established an organic desk to lead in the development of an organic policy under the department of Food Security and Early Warning Systems. The ministrys approach is to develop a stand alone policy as well as mainstream organic agriculture in

other policies. So far Organic Agriculture has been in-cooperated in the Food Security Policy draft and the Soil Fertility Policy draft. External certification bodies, depending on the destined markets, do most of the certification for the export market. As illustrated in table 3 there are five international certification bodies that are involved in Kenya, namely; Soil Association (UK), Ceres (USA), EcoCert, (France), IMO (Germany) and Bio Swiss (Switzerland). However, to minimize the cost of certification by the external certifiers, most of the certifiers use local trained inspectors. A national certification body Encert was established in 2005 to certify for the national markets.
Table 3: Certifiers operating in Kenya (2008) National Encert International Bioswiss, Ecocert, IMO, Soil Association, Ceres

In May 2007 The East African Organic Products Standard (EAOPS) was launched after a consultative process which started in 2005, of harmonizing organic standards that existed in the East African region. Together with the EAOPS, mark was developed purposely to help promote and boost regional trade. However, a regional mark without an implementation of regional policies on organic farming institutionalized in national laws can quickly undermine the credibility of the mark if one of the countries agrees to allow for GMO crops, use of DDT spraying etc. Strong economic and political interest groups are at the moment advocating for this in Kenya and Uganda respectively.

Market Like in many developing countries the local organic market is mainly placed around the capital city where a major part of the consumers are foreigners and affluent higher middleclass citizens. There are more than 10 outlets in Nairobi selling organic products and they are situated in the wealthy areas of Karen, Muthaiga, Lavington, , Westlands, Gigiri. The outlets are greengrocer shops, health shops and the two supermarket chains Uchumi and Nakumatt. The latter is a supermarket chain in the high end concerning

product variety and prices. The organic products sold in the supermarkets are typically coffee, tea, honey, sunflower oil, flour, macademia nuts, and various health products. One of the Nakumatt outlet stores, Westgate, has an organic section in the fresh produce section. The greengrocers offer, besides some of the products found in the supermarkets, a variety of vegetables and fruits. The main shops are Healthy U, Green Corner Shop, Zucchini Green Grocers, Organic Green Grocers, Green dreams Shop and Kalimoni Greens. There are three organic restaurants in Nairobi, two by organic restaurant chain, Bridges Organic Restaurant, which has two outlets in Nairobi and Healthy foods creation. A number of hotels and restaurants, respectively in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa by the Indian Ocean, provide organic on order. In Mombasa tourism is the main driver for organic food demand. An analysis on the supplies of organic produce, from smallholder farmers to Bridges Organic Restaurant, shows that the average monthly supplies have been growing steadily. The purchase grew from produce worth $984 in 2006 to $2064 in 2007 - a 109% growth. The average value of monthly purchases has increased further in the first half of 2008 to $2939 being a 42% increase. The growth is illustrated in graph 1;

Graph 1: Growth of Smallholder Farmer supply to Bridges Organic Restaurant (2006-2008)

Comparative Produce Value of Organic Vs Conventional Supplied to Bridges OHR 2006-2008


3,000 2,500 2,000 Value in US$ 1,500 1,000 500 0

Organic Value in US $ Conventional Value in US $ 2006 2007 Year 2008 (up to half year)

Export The major exports are within the six major product categories produced: fresh vegetables and tropical fruits, essential oils, herbs, nuts, coffee and tea. In table 4 the produce in tones per year is illustrated. Data has not been collected on fruits and essential oils. Within all six commodity areas 2-4 major companies are in charge of the overall production and export. Table 4: major organic export categories in ton per year (2008)
Export category Vegetables Fruits Essential oils/coconut oil Herbs Nuts Coffee/Tea ton 700 /15.000 150 860 400/200

Company information collected by interview (Kledal Aug/sep 2008)

Future prospects The growth in new organic farm area since 2005 has either been larger areas destined for export, often of a single high value crop, or very small areas producing for a growing home market. Concerning the latter Kenya is home to a number of UN organizations, including UNEP, HABITAT and the regional UNESCO headquarters. There are also a number of international agricultural research institutes based in the country, and all of them have a large number of foreigners working there and being an important driver behind the local organic demand. However, the riots after the election held in December 2007 have caused a downturn in the tourist industry as well as in the disposal income of most Kenyans, and will put a limit on the growth prospects on the home market in the near future. Likewise the export market has also been hit by rising fuel cost as well as the debate on carbon emissions and food miles on products flown from Kenya. The exporters of fresh horticulture products using air freight for transportation are considering changing production towards lighter and higher value crops like herbs or finding other nearer markets like South Africa. Similar problems face the exporters of durable fruits, vegetables tea and coffee using container transportation by sea. Due to the increasing raids of pirates from the Somali coast ships now have to go further out at sea which have raised transportation cost. The organic export from Kenya could therefore see a development where the export destined for EU will decline, but expand and diversify to other potential African and some Asian markets. The liberalization of the Kenyan coffee market could open up for a growth in organic coffee, and organic tea is going to double its production to 400 ton next year. However the organic tea producers in Kenya face hard completion on labor costs from Uganda and Asian countries as well.