Economy

Agriculture posts second best growth in five years

tea

Workers at a tea estate in Kericho. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Agriculture posted a 4.8percent growth last year, its second-best in five years, on improved demand for produce, defying the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that the sector growth increased by 2.2 percentage points from 2.6 percent in 2019.

Agriculture posted a 4.8percent growth last year, its second-best in five years, on improved demand for produce, defying the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that the sector growth increased by 2.2 percentage points from 2.6 percent in 2019.

“Real gross value added of the sector grew by 4.8 percent in 2020 compared to a revised growth of 2.6 percent in 2019. This was mainly on account of favourable weather conditions in 2020 which improved production of food crops such as beans, rice, sorghum and millet and, livestock and related products such as milk and meat,” said bureau said in its Economic Survey 2021 report that was released Thursday.

According to KNBS, the output of some key food crops was lower than the projected production partly due to underperformance of the short rains as well as reduced demand from restaurants and learning institutions that remained closed for a significant part of 2020.

Tea production increased by 24.1 percent from 458.8 million kilogrammes in 2019 to 569 million tonnes in 2020.

The earnings from the beverage in the review period increased to Sh130 billion from Sh113 billion in 2019.

Coffee production and horticultural exports declined by 18.0 percent and 4.5 percent to stand at 36 million kg and 313 million kilos, respectively, in 2020.

However, low production was lifted by higher earnings from horticultural produce, which increased by 3.9 percent to stand at Sh150.2 billion in 2020.

The increase in the earnings was mainly attributed to better international export prices for the horticultural products in the review period.

The Covid-19 pandemic increased demand for Kenya’s produce in the overseas market as fruits and vegetables were in high demand due to their nutritional value.

Maize production went down from 44.0 million bags in 2019 to 42.1 million bags in 2020, while the quantity of potatoes decreased to 1.9 million bags in 2020 from 2.0 million bags in 2019.