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Economy

The 11 counties that promise high returns on investment

dry maize
Farmers dry maize near Eldoret town. The grain-growers want the State to buy maize at Sh3,200 per sack. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Eleven counties hold better potential for investors with high returns expected from key economic segments at the devolved units.

A report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) yesterday said the counties will continue to experience economic boom from agriculture and services — Kenya’s two main engines that drive growth —making them most preferable investment destinations.

The KNBS’ inaugural Gross County Product report has listed Nakuru, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Meru, Narok and Bomet as regions with great potential for agriculture with their cosmopolitan nature presenting an added advantage for stability.

“Counties such as Nakuru, Kiambu, Meru, Bungoma, Kakamega and Nyeri have potential in agriculture and services sector.

Service output

Services sector is broadly significant in many counties; but with scope for expansion in North Eastern counties,” the report states.

Agriculture and services account for the largest share of economic activities in all the counties, except Nairobi and Mombasa that rank lowest in agriculture but top in the services output.

Last year, the KNBS released in its yearly statistical abstract the agricultural potential of counties based on the amount of arable land and water availability.

Kericho, Migori, Homa Bay and Murang’a, however, miss out in the list of the top 10 counties in agriculture output despite being among the 14 counties that hold more than half of Kenya’s land classified as high potential by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

The counties also get an average annual rainfall of 857.5mm or more that makes them suitable for farming.

Low agricultural activities

Kisumu, which ranks among the counties with the largest surface under terrestrial waters compared to their total land mass, was flagged as low in agricultural activities together with Kajiado, Isiolo and Machakos.

Kenya has 3,157,000 hectares of land classified as medium potential with annual rainfall between 755.5-980mm while the rest of agricultural land totalling 42,105,000 hectares fall under the low potential category.

Agriculture still accounts to more than a third of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product with the sector contributing 34.6 percent in 2017, an increase from 32.1 percent a year earlier.

The growing of crops is particularly a heavy contributor at 28.3 per cent up from 25.4 per cent in 2016, according to official data.

Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia which is classified as a key bread basket for the country also failed to top the list of the 10 most productive counties agriculturally.

The two counties have 327,000 and 208,000 hectares respectively, classified as high potential ranked 15th and 22nd.

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