The agriculture sector is central to Kenya’s economy and a key contributor to both economic and social growth. The sector contributed 16.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and another 14% of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors (Economic Survey Report 2021). Considering this, the Kenya Vision 2030 recognizes the significance of the agriculture sector as one of the key drivers of the economy to sustainably achieve an average economic growth rate of 10% per year, reduce poverty levels to 25% and boost food security to 30% by the year 2030 (Vision 2030). The sector employs more than 40% of the total population and more than 70% of Kenya’s rural people. In addition, the sector accounts for 65% of the export earnings, and provides a livelihood (employment, income, and food security needs) for more than 80% of the Kenyan population (FAO, 2021). Over 80% of the 47.6 million Kenyans, live in rural areas, deriving their livelihoods mainly from agricultural related activities (NCPD, 2018). According to the Agriculture Rural and Urban Development (ARUD) Sector Report (2018), in 2016, the agriculture, livestock, fisheries and the blue economy sub-sectors directly contributed an estimated 31.3% of the overall GDP (GoK, 2018).
The development of this sector is important for enhancing Kenya’s food security and resilience. In addition, the development of this sector is key to poverty reduction since most vulnerable groups including pastoralists, the landless, and subsistence farmers, depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood. Growth in the sector is also expected to have a greater impact on a larger section of the population than any other sector. The sector is also a driver of the non-agricultural economy including manufacturing, providing inputs and markets for non-agricultural operations such as building/construction, transportation, tourism, education, and other social services (FAO, 2021).
For these reasons, the Government of Kenya (GoK) has continued to prioritize agriculture as an important and strategic sector for promoting national development and economic transformation.
The Government of Kenya’s agriculture agenda is driven by the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS, 2019 – 2029). The goal of Kenya’s Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) is to create a vibrant, commercial, and modern agricultural sector that supports 100% food security in the context of devolution. The Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) seeks to rapidly transform this critical sector. 9 flagships were developed that serve as the core of the 10-year Agricultural Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS). The strategy details the flagship projects prioritized for implementation in the first five years. It was envisioned that following a review of their performance, an additional set of projects will be developed for the next five years of the strategy to match the transformation needs at the time.