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Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change

Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change


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November 10, 2013

By

Food Tank

As crop production and food security are threatened by a changing climate in Kenya, researchers and farmers prepare for possible geographic shift in maize cultivation.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.


Small-Scale Kenyan Farmers Have Potential to Thrive Despite Climate Change - Recipes

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is the single most important sector in the economy, contributing 25 per cent of the GDP and employing 65 per cent of the nation’s labour force.

Through agriculture, the country is also able to meet its food security needs.

Despite the current hard economic times, we continue to neglect our agriculture which is our greatest weapon for growth amid the spiralling debt and public expenditure. We must focus on production as opposed to taxation to get our economy back on track.

We continue to blame climate change, lack of markets, lack of finance to farmers and a myriad of other issues, forgetting to address the issue of engaging the middle class in agriculture as we continue to rely mainly on the 70 per cent smallholder farmers.

The small-scale farmers are a very vulnerable group of producers and while ultimately the government and private sector must support them, we need to re-focus our attention on middle class agricultural producers, commonly called the “missing middle”, for quick results.

It is time the nation focused its attention on the growing number of middle class investors in agriculture.

There is an enormous role the middle class can play in the development of our agriculture across the value chain right from farm to fork including — production, productivity, inputs, mechanisation, processing, marketing right up to the consumer.

The middle class represents the largest economically empowered group of Kenyans at the moment. They are also the single most important group in the tax bracket. They make an investment in all areas of our economy – real estate, manufacturing, retail business, and transport.

However, investment in agriculture has been minimal yet this is the most important sector if we intend to rapidly grow the GDP.

The middle class also represents one of the most technologically exposed group in Kenya, and they are thus ready to adopt modern farming methods.

They are also some of the most credit-worthy Kenyans, and therefore able to secure credit from banks and financial institutions especially for agricultural development since they have collaterals. Small-scale farmers are not able to get loans easily because of lack of collateral and banks consider them a high risk.

The middle class is, therefore, able to commercialise and meaningfully contribute to food security and economic prosperity.

The middle class own or are able to lease medium-sized farms, that when utilised properly are able to produce more than what we get from many smallholder farmers put together.

The middle class is also able to increase yield through proper application of fertiliser and crop protection chemicals.

The “missing middle” constitute a pool of highly educated, mainly professionals who understand how to run farming as a business and not as a way of life as is the case with the majority of our small-scale farmers. For that reason, they are able to keep proper records that not only show the profitability of the enterprise but also provide indications on the growth of the sector. This will help in better projections on the food security.

The “missing middle” is also able to understand the market dynamics due to their exposure and networks both locally and abroad. With proper coordination, they can easily link to the local and international markets for their produce

This category has also formed investment groups or belong to groups sanctioned by their various counties such as the Meru Economic and Social Council which has the blessings of Meru County and the Nyanza Development Forum which enjoys wide membership among Nyanza professionals.

Through these professional forums, the middle class can engage in serious agribusiness which will contribute to our food security and more importantly produce surplus to market and be able to support the economy at the levels agricultural produce such as coffee, cotton, tea, pyrethrum did in the 70’s.

The country then had a producer economy and not a consumer economy. The income paid for our debts, development and recurrent expenditure, not anymore.

What needs to be done to exploit the potential of the “missing middle”?

The first thing is to create an enabling environment for this segment to thrive. The banks and lending institutions should deliberately offer access to finance the middle class with good business plans. At the moment the banks are skeptical about agricultural ventures as their perception of credit is based on the experiences with the small-scale farmer.

International development partners also need to come up with innovative support mechanisms for the middle class. This can include credit guarantee schemes and other forms of Public Private Partnerships that will enable this segment to boost agricultural production and productivity and build strong value chains which include agro-processing. We have seen how this segment of farmers has transformed the horticulture industry. The same model can be applied to other crops and livestock farming.