Strong performance in Kenya’s agriculture sector has helped the country’s economy expand faster in the third quarter of 2018 than in the same period in 2017, new data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has revealed.
The Bureau, which is a department in Kenya’s Ministry of Planning that collects and compiles regular cross-sectoral data for the government, said Kenya’s economy grew 6% in the third quarter of 2018, compared with 4.7% during the same period in 2017.
The announcement comes just days after Kenya’s government launched a plan to make the East African nation food secure by 2025.
The strategy calls for increased mechanisation in agriculture from the current 25% to 40%.
Kenya’s Agriculture Chief Agriculture Secretary (CAS) Andrew Tuimur recently urged the country’s private sector to partner with the government in implementing the plan, with focus on equipment suppliers, farmer associations, agro-dealers, warehouses and processors.
He argued that the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will contribute to an increase in average farmers’ incomes by 35%.
Tuimur added that the move would boost the contribution of agro-processing by Sh130 billion over five years.
“Above all, agriculture should transform from a producer of raw materials to a consumer of goods and services at every stage of the value chain,” he said.
Kenya’s agriculture sector expanded by 5.2% in 2018 compared with 3.7% in the third quarter of 2017. The industry, which is described as the backbone of Kenya’s economy, was helped by better weather during the year.
“Prices of key food crops remained low during the quarter compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017, an indication of relative stability in supply,” the Bureau said in a statement issued this week.
Manufacturing grew by 3.2 percent from a 0.1 percent contraction in the third quarter of 2017, KNBS said.
The Bureau expects the economy to expand by 6.2% in 2019, up from a forecast 6% in 2018.