How Kenya land system has killed agriculture

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While you can easily get an acre of good farmland for between Sh200,000 and Sh400,000 in many parts of the US, you need between Sh1 million and Sh10 million to get the same size in the high-potential areas of Kenya.


And while the farmer in the US will get subsidies and other incentives, her counterpart in Kenya will instead have to battle, often single-handedly, some of the harshest farming conditions anywhere and, as if that is not bad enough, be saddled with all manner of taxes.

And to break even, she has to sell her produce at prohibitive prices that are no match for cheaper imports from Uganda, Tanzania and even China.

These, and other absurdities, are the reasons Kenya’s agriculture will keep stagnating and the country continue to be fed by its neighbours, experts warn.

“Despite the fact that Kenya and other African economies rely on agriculture, their farmland is not defined and protected,” notes Mr Henry Kinyua, the East Africa head of Digital Green, an organisation that empowers smallholder farmers by harnessing technology and partnerships.