Nairobi News

Must ReadNewsWhat's Hot

Tanzania, Uganda lead market for Kenya’s agricultural exports

Agricultural produce leads Kenya’s exports to the countries comprising the East African Community (EAC).

In a report released by the State Department for EAC on agriculture and agricultural trade between Kenya and the region’s bloc partner states, Kenya exports 58 per cent of its agricultural products to the member countries.

Agricultural products top the list, followed by manufactured goods at 32 per cent, while Kenya’s imports mainly consist of manufactured goods (63 per cent) and almost equal shares of agricultural goods, fuels, and mining products.

Furthermore, the report by the PS of the State Department for EAC, Abdi Dubat, indicates that tea, coffee, horticultural products, and animal and vegetable oils are the most exported agricultural products from Kenya to the EAC countries.

“In terms of imports, the leading countries (in Africa) are Tanzania at 24 per cent, Egypt (21), South Africa (19), and Uganda (15),” the report stated.

However, the most significant products imported, including cereals, sugars, wood, mineral fuels, and paper, are mainly sourced from Uganda and Tanzania, the main exporters to Kenya within the EAC region.

Kenya imports unmanufactured goods such as tobacco, cane or beet sugar, leguminous vegetables, maize, fowls, and milk cream from Uganda, while maize is the main agricultural product imported from Tanzania.

Kenya’s primary exports to the EAC region include construction materials such as cement, iron, steel, paints, vanishes, and paperboard.

Others are petroleum products, beer, salt, pharmaceutical products, edible oils, and detergents.

By 2021, according to the State Department for EAC, the largest export market for Kenyan products within Africa was Uganda (30 per cent), followed by Tanzania (15 per cent), Rwanda (10 per cent), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (8 per cent), and Egypt (7 per cent).

The 2022 EAC Trade and Investment Report conveyed that Kenya’s trade with EAC partner states increased by 8.8 per cent from US$ 1.65 billion (equivalent to Ksh241.72 billion) in 2021 to US$ 1.79 billion (Ksh262.23 billion) in 2022, the highest value compared to trade values between Kenya and other regional blocs.

The agricultural sector accounts for between 25 to 40 per cent of the EAC partner states’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is the leading employer of over 80 per cent of the population in the region.

More than 70 per cent of the industries in the EAC states are agro-based and depend on agriculture as the main source of raw materials.

Mr Dubat observes that Kenya’s trade growth with EAC countries has been facilitated by various regional agreements, such as the East African Community Customs Union and the Common Market Protocol, which aim to promote free trade and economic integration among member states.

Even as Kenya records remarkable achievements in the growth of the agricultural sector in the EAC, climate variability and change pose significant threats to achieving food security, admitted PS Dubat.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Kenya is among the hardest-hit nations in the Horn of Africa by the devastating effects of climate change.

Climate change is a serious global concern that increasingly negatively impacts the EAC’s regional ecosystems, natural resource productivity, livelihoods, and development efforts.

It has resulted in prolonged droughts with a great impact on crops, livestock, heavy precipitations leading to flooding, or very low unreliable rainfall, which cannot support productive farming, among other devastating occurrences.

Another constraint to achieving food and nutrition security includes overdependence on rain-fed agriculture, high post-harvest losses (averaging 30 to 40 per cent), and low adoption of high-yielding and pest-resistant or tolerant crop varieties.

Farmers, however, are urged to adopt high-yielding crops that are drought-tolerant and pest-resistant.

Also read: Prominent businessman Narendra Raval suggests Ruto to rule for 25 years

ODM’s John Mbadi criticises Luo lavish funerals yet development is low