Kenya Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Kenya Facts

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a state located in East Africa.
Capital: Nairobi
Official language: Swahili, English
Currency: Kenyan Shilling
Passport and visa: A Finnish citizen needs a visa to Kenya. The passenger must present a printed copy of the electronic visa upon arrival in the country.
Time difference to Finland +1
Daylight saving time is not used

Agriculture and fishing

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy. Around three in four Kenyans work on farming the land or keeping animals, at least part-time. Most are small farmers, but there are also more than 3,000 large farms. Tea, coffee, fruit, vegetables and cut flowers dominate the export.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Kenya. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

The crops are mainly found in the fertile highlands of central and western Kenya. In the north and northeast where the climate is dry, livestock management is important. More than half of agricultural production takes place for own consumption.

Kenya is one of the world’s leading exporters of both black tea and cut flowers. Half a million small farmers account for two-thirds of tea production and multinational companies for the rest. The cultivation of cut flowers and other garden crops has grown sharply since the 1980s. The flowers are grown largely around Lake Naivasha, in the southern part of the Great Rift Valley.

Kenyan coffee is known as high quality. The rapidly fluctuating world market price has contributed to the abandonment of many farmers by coffee farmers, although this trend has slowed down somewhat. Also a hindrance is that all coffee must be sold at auction in Nairobi. Some growers believe that they would get higher prices if they were allowed to sell their crops themselves. For Kenya defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

Other important crops that are grown for sale are sugar cane, wheat, sisal and tobacco. Kenya is also one of the largest sellers in the world of pyrethrum, a plant used as an insect repellent. Cotton and fish are grown using artificial irrigation from the Tana River.

The cultivation of fruits and vegetables, not least beans and in recent years avocado, is also extensive. Large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as cut flowers, are flown to Europe.

Corn is an important food crop. For many Kenyans, corn porridge ugali is the most important basic food. Roasted corn is also common. Other crops are sorghum, cassava, beans and fruit.

The land is not enough to support the growing population, especially as only a small part of the country normally receives sufficient rainfall to provide good returns. Kenya is alternately suffering from severe drought and severe flooding. The weather conditions and the severe throws seem to be more difficult due to climate change. This leads to major problems for agriculture. The country is often forced to import large quantities of food, and many people depend on food aid for their survival.

Periodically, the lack of rain creates problems for agriculture. The problems in the region were particularly difficult in 2011 and in February 2017, President Kenyatta announced a “national disaster state since 23 of Kenya’s 47 counties suffered severe drought. The most vulnerable were the northern parts of the country and the coastal area. Among other things, the Kenyan tea harvest fell by one-fifth in 2017, the price of maize flour rose by almost one-third, and food imports increased rapidly. Over three million people became dependent on emergency aid. The situation eased in 2018 when it rained more, especially in the western part of the country, and many received help from the authorities.

The pressure on arable land causes erosion, overgrazing and deforestation. Conflicts over agricultural land are a common cause of violence between people groups.

Fishing occurs mainly in Lake Victoria but also in the sea.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

34.2 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

48.5 percent (2016)



New opposition alliance under way

December 16th

Cord’s leaders Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi from Amani’s National Congress agreed in mid-month to form the National Super Alliance (Nasa) in February 2017. Several other opposition groups are also participating in talks on this.

Police are charged with extrajudicial executions

December 8

Kenya’s police forces against terrorism are accused by the human rights organization Haki Africa of extrajudicial executions of over 80 people. Most of the victims are young people who surrendered to the authorities when they returned from Somalia, believing that they would be granted amnesty. But people have also been killed in connection with protests or attacks against mosques accused of recruiting young people into radical groups. According to Haki Africa, some of the victims were terror suspects, but that did not allow the state to kill them without prior trial. The police authority says it has intervened against police officers who have committed the abuse, and that 52 people have been prosecuted and investigations are ongoing in over 300 cases.


Kenyan soldiers return from South Sudan

November 9

The first Kenyan soldiers return from South Sudan.

Kenyan general dismissed by UN chief

November 3

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon dismisses Kenyan General Johnson Ondieki, who heads the UN forces in South Sudan. As a reason, he states that the UN force did not intervene when soldiers attacked a hotel in Juba in July 2016. Kenya criticizes the decision and says the country should withdraw its troops from South Sudan


Death sentences are transformed into life imprisonment

October 24th

President Kenyatta decides that all of the 2,747 people sentenced to death should have their sentences converted to life imprisonment. At the same time, he pardons 102 prisoners who have been incarcerated for a long time. No people have been executed in Kenya since 1987.

At least six dead in al-Shabaab attacks

October 6

At least six people are killed in an attack in Mandera in northeastern Kenya. al-Shabaab takes on the deed.


The ICC criticizes the Kenyan government

September 19

In a statement, the ICC criticizes the Kenyan regret for not cooperating with the court, nor providing it with the information requested by the ICC in, inter alia, the case against President Kenyatta. The court now refers the matter to the so-called Assembly of State Parties (ASP), which is the ICC’s monitoring and decision-making body, and consists of representatives of the states that have ratified and acceded to the Rome Statute.

Criticism against Kenya and UNHCR

September 15th

In a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenyan authorities and the UN refugee body are criticized for the way voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees is carried out. According to HRW, many refugees have left the camps for fear that they would otherwise be forced to leave. The UNHCR is also criticized for not providing the returning refugees with sufficient information on the security situation in Somalia.

Attacks on police station in Mombasa

11 September

Three women cut a police officer and set fire to a police station on fire in Mombasa. All three are shot after the death by police. According to media reports, a note was later found in the house where the women lived, where they swore allegiance to the Islamic State terror group .


Election commissioners are allowed to go

August 16th

After deliberations in a parliamentary committee with representatives of several parties, it is decided that several people on senior positions within the electoral commission are forced to leave their positions. This means that nine new election commissioners will be appointed well in advance of the next election in August 2017. The decision is a clear success for the opposition, which has long demanded that they be replaced. Before the decision can come into force, it must be approved by Parliament, President Kenyatta and opposition leader Odinga, but this is now seen as a pure formality.


Heavy penalty for ivory smugglers

July 22nd

20 years in prison and the equivalent of almost SEK 1.7 million in fines will be punished for a man who is convicted of extensive illegal trade in ivory. He is suspected of being the head of a league that has been trying to smuggle out three tons of ivory that were seized in the port of Mombasa in June 2014.

The security service is accused of murder and abduction

July 20

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses members of the security service of killing and abducting men in northeast Kenya who are suspected of being linked to Islamic extremists. HRW considers itself to have documented 34 disappearances and 11 suspected “extrajudicial executions” over the past two years in the Garissa, Mandera and Wajir districts. In some cases, the men were with police or military when they were last seen. A police spokesman urges HRW to hand over all documents to the Prosecutor’s Office and independent authorities that supervise the police’s work.

Police station set on fire by protesters

July 6

Hundreds of people attack a police station outside Nairobi and burn down parts of it in protest at the arrest of three people detained. The three people were a lawyer who often criticized police violence, one of his clients and their driver. They disappeared at the end of June after being arrested and taken into police custody. When the latter were found dumped in a river, the bodies carried traces of torture.


Warnings about starvation

June 22

Severe drought prevails in West Pokot County in northwestern Kenya and hundreds of thousands of people are threatened by starvation. The government has promised support to those affected but no money from the emergency fund has yet been paid out.

al-Shabaab attacks

21 June

Five police officers are killed in an attack on a border post in northwestern Kenya. Somali Islamist militia al-Shabaab takes on the deed.

At least two dead in connection with protests in Kisumu

6th June

The police first try to disperse the protesters, who have set up roadblocks and trains to the Electoral Commission’s office, using tear gas. Later, they shoot at the protesters. Five people were injured, except for the two killed. Kisumu is one of the strongholds of opposition leader Raila Odinga. A similar manifestation is held on the same day in Nairobi under peaceful forms.

Released after liberating judgment

June 2

A regional court in Mombasa decides that 43 men charged with being members of the separatist organization MRC, murders, attacks on police stations and more. MRC has continually denied that the organization has been involved in this. The judge decides to release the men as no evidence has been presented against them, even though they were arrested already in 2014.

Conversation between Kenyatta and Odinga

June 1st

The Kenyan president appeals to the opposition to suspend its protests. Opposition leader Raila Odinga rejects this, saying that the government has not shown any willingness to start any real dialogue on the issue. iInst three people have been killed in connection with the protests that started in April.


The refugee camp Dadaab will be closed in November

May 31st

This is stated by Interior Minister Joseph Nkaisserry in a statement at the end of the month. He says Kenya will work in close cooperation with the UN and the Somali government. The requirements were later mitigated (see Population and language k).

Tear gas and water cannons are deployed against protesters

May 17

Again, Odinga’s supporters protest outside the Nairobi Electoral Commission’s office (see April 2016). The police intervene against the protesters and at least 15 of them are arrested and accused of throwing stones at the police (according to media reports, only a small number of protesters threw stones). Odinga says the protests will continue every week until plans to reform are announced. A police chief says the police’s conduct should be investigated internally after film images showed how police beat unarmed and peaceful protesters with clubs. The opposition is also organizing similar protests in Kisumu in northwestern Kenya.

Plans to close refugee camps raise concerns

May 10

The Kenyan government announces that it plans to close the huge Dadaab refugee camp because of al-Shabaab security threats. Together, the two camps house 385,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia. The UN expresses “deep concern” over Kenya’s plans. Later, Kenya threatens to withdraw from the AU force unless the international community pushes for more money (see also Foreign Policy and Defense).


Marking against poaching

April 30th

Over 100 tons of ivory (and a ton of horns) are burned at a ceremony in a national park in Nairobi. Authorities say it is happening to protect the country’s endangered animals and Kenya says it wants a total ban on all ivory trade.

Demands for political reform

April 25

Opposition leader Odinga criticizes the IECB Election Commission for not making any efforts to investigate the problems surrounding the 2013 elections. He wants all members of the Commission to be replaced. At the same time, Odinga calls for more extensive political reforms ahead of the 2017 elections. About 500 of his supporters march towards the IECB’s headquarters to demand that the election commissioners resign and the IECB be dissolved. Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters. Several people are arrested, but it is unclear how many.

ICC judge closes trial against Ruto

April 16

Two of the three judges decide in early April that there is no evidence to file the case against Vice President Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. However, they make no secret that an important reason for this is that the Kenyan government has interfered in the legal process and that witnesses have been threatened. However, the judges open the possibility that the case can be re-admitted.
The decision to close the trial is welcomed by President Kenyatta, who says he will never again allow Kenyans to be sent to the ICC . Just a few hours after the decision, thousands of Ruto supporters gather on Nairobi’s streets to celebrate


Rages against al-Shabaab

The Kenyan military reports that at least a dozen al-Shabaab rebels have been killed in connection with raids in Somalia, around the cities of Afmadow and Sarira.


Judge of the Supreme Court suspended for bribery

Philip Tunoi is accused of receiving the equivalent of $ 2 million in connection with a petition filed after the Nairobi governor election where Evans Kidero’s victory was questioned.

New data on the number of Kenyan deaths

February 25th

Somalia’s president says in a TV interview that 180 Kenyan soldiers were killed by al-Shabaab in the attack against an AU operation in January. The information is rejected by Kenyan authorities.


New prison for jihadists

January 16

President Kenyatta said at a speech that the new prison is part of the fight against extreme Islamists in the country.

Four terror suspected men are killed by police

The deed takes place in a raid in the coastal city of Malindi, just over seven miles north of Mombasa. Police say they seized a gun and five hand grenades. According to the police, the men have planned attacks in tourist areas.

al-Shabaab takes on AU base

January 15

The Islamist militia claims to have taken full control of the AU site located near the city of El-Adde in southern Somalia and that it had killed more than 60 Kenyan soldiers. However, the Kenyan military says it is a Somali base location that has been stormed, and that the Kenyan soldiers strike back at the militia. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed that Kenyan soldiers have been killed, but does not say how many.

Later, al-Shabaab says that up to 100 Kenyan soldiers have been killed. The militia must also have seized a number of vehicles and military equipment, and must have carried away an unknown number of Kenyan soldiers. However, the Kenyan authorities are waiting to state the number of casualties, but appear to be preparing the public for high numbers.

In connection with a memorial ceremony in Nairobi, which also includes the Presidents of Nigeria and Somalia, President Kenyatta says that the Kenyan troops will remain in Somalia.

Kenya Agriculture and Fishing