A Fruity Affair-Good and Healthy for Kenyans

Smallholder farmers in the agricultural  sector  produce more than half  of  the  world’s food  supply   accounting   for 90 per cent  of Africa’s agricultural production. Yet, constraints related to production, quality and markets continue to hamper a sector that employs majority of the  population in Africa.  Agriculture accounts for about 24 per cent of Kenya’s gross  domestic product (GDP)  with  an estimated 75 per  cent  of the  population depending on  it  directly or  indirectly. It’s  estimated that   agricultural sectors contributes 63 per  cent  of employment in  Sub  Saharan Africa  and  as  much as
83 per  cent  in Ethiopia and  81 per  cent in Rwanda.

The horticultural industry in Kenya is dominated by  smallholder farmers who constitute  80  per   cent   of  the   growers and   contribute  about   60   per   cent   to the export  market. The export  market constitutes about four per cent of the horticultural production. Despite the huge contribution made  by the smallholder farmers in  Africa  towards food  security and  income generation, the  majority  of these  populations live in rural  areas  with about 56 per cent of them living below the poverty  line.

Over  the  years,  Africa’s smallholder farmers have been unable to realize profitable  returns  on   their   farm investment due  to poor  technologies and methods of  production and  post-harvest handling, limited  product value  addition and diversification and weak marketing linkages.  However,  through  several projects initiated by  the  Government  of Kenya (GoK), local mango  and passion smallholder farmers, have significantly improved their  fruit  production and quality. One such GoK project is the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project  (KAPAP), through which  the government is up scaling technologies and innovations for sustainable agricultural production  and   growth   of  mango   and passion fruit  smallholder farmers in various  parts of the country.

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