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Agriculture and Food Security

A robust agricultural sector provides both food and economic security to a country. This video provides an overview of how USAID has worked to improve the growth and sales of maize, dairy, flower, and passion fruit products in Kenya.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy, and improving private, small-scale farms is essential to a broad-based, poverty-reduction strategy. Overall, 75 percent of Kenya’s population derives at least part of their livelihoods from agriculture, including livestock and pastoral activities. Agriculture accounts for more than half of Kenya’s GDP.

At the same time, only one-fifth of the country’s land is suitable for farming, and productivity remains low. Most farmers work without modern seeds and technology or adequate financial or extension services.

USAID is a leader in farming and pastoral programs that focus on the entire value-chain: from seeds and soil, to farming methods, to linking farmers to markets. Kenya is a focus of the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, which targets horticulture, grain, and dairy farmers. USAID helps these small farmers increase their productivity and adopt sustainable methods of farming. In addition, USAID increases Kenyan farmers’ business skills and access to credit.

USAID focuses on reaching very poor producers, especially livestock herders and women. Programs also emphasize ecological sustainability through a proactive approach to climate change adaptation. In addition, USAID works with the Kenyan government to enact and implement policies that encourage growth among small farmers and the private sector. 

USAID’s agriculture and rural finance programs directly benefitted more than 270,000 rural households in 2011; 48 percent of these beneficiaries are women, who are often the main source of income for their families. 

Last updated: November 05, 2015

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