Kenya has failed to meet the Indian market demand for pulses two years after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the supply of beans, peas and green grams.
In the MoU signed in 2015, India had given Kenya a quota of four million metric tonnes.
However, Kenya is only supplying 20 per cent of the 800,000 metric tonnes annual production.
Programmes coordinator at East African Grain Council Janet Ngombalu says low production has been occasioned by a lack of awareness by farmers on certified seeds.
The growers have also not understood the advantage of pulses compared to other crops such as maize they prefer to grow.
“The current production is still low but we are now focusing on developing this sector to increase the yields to meet the huge demand of the export market,” she said.
Ms Ngombalu said Kenya has a huge potential for pulses and the EAGC is working with farmers to build capacity for growing the crop and linking them up with both local and export market.
Part of the support to farmers include training them on best agricultural practices to enable the producers to get the most out of their venture.
The EAGC says though there is growing world demand of pulses every year, production has been dwindling.
Ministry of Agriculture and the grain agency are using pulses trade fairs to educate farmers on accessing markets in India and other countries as Kenya seeks to raise production from the current Sh600 million worth against the potential Sh5 billion.
“Pulses have emerged to be an interesting subsector in the grain value chain. For the last few years, the demand for pulses in the international market has increased prompting a lot of research on productivity,” said the EAGC regional programmes coordinator.
The programme is aimed at helping farmers to develop the knowledge base of the pulses varieties, which have always enjoyed a ready market and good prices.
Currently, a 90-kilogramme bag of pulses is going at over Sh5,000 in the country amid a biting shortage.