Production in Kenya
The climatic condition of Kenya favors the production of a variety of vegetable products. A review of Kenya’s exports shows there have been very limited diversifications of vegetable exports, with the bulk of exports being dominated by French beans, snow peas, runner beans, and Asian vegetables.
A review of the target destination regions and countries by their annual market size of vegetables revealed the EU and the USA as the lead markets. Both markets account for 75% of the total export demand of target destination countries/regions’ annual market size, with the EU being in the lead at 56%, followed by the USA at 19%.
French beans are grown mainly for the export market where they are exported as fresh or canned. The area under French beans production was 5,682 Ha in 2017 compared to 5,948 Ha in 2016 Ha which is a 4% decrease. There was also a 2% decrease on productivity in 2017 at 45,263 Tons compared to 46,222 Tons in 2016. However, the value increased by 5% from Kshs 1.97 billion in 2016 to 2.06 billion in 2017. The decrease in hectarage can be attributed to challenges in marketing and shift to other less risky enterprises such as banana production. The value for fresh beans was however high due to depressed supply. The leading counties in terms of value in 2017 were Machakos, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Meru that accounted for 28.4%, 17.3%, 10.7% and 10.7% respectively. Production and marketing of French beans in Kenya has continually been faced with the challenge of pests and diseases which have resulted to high rejection rate or interception in the exported market because of pesticide residues. Some common pests in beans are white flies, mites and aphids. Diseases include bean rust and bean spot.
Snow peas grow well in upper and lower highlands with fertile organic soil and well-distributed rainfall. Regions in Kenya that meet these requirements include the Central, Western and Rift Valley areas. Snow peas are mainly grown for the export market with only a very small quantity being consumed locally. The value of snow peas produced in 2017 increased by 5percent from Ksh710.9 Million in 2016to Ksh967.56 Million. Meru, Nyeri and Nyandarua Counties were leading and contributed to 61.9, 15.9 and 13.3 respectively of the total value in 2017. The main challenges in snow peas are Powderly mildew disease and leaf miner pest.
Why the focus on the Snow Peas and French Beans?
- These crops present an opportunity since they are export crops;
- Their demand is high, and there is always a ready market.
Challenges in the value chains
Efforts to promote French Beans and Snow Peas just like other vegetables, have been thwarted by constraints such as; lack of adequate capacity at County level and coordination framework between county and National Government; lack of networking arrangement between small-scale producers, and medium and large scale exporters/producers; weak farmer organization structures, especially in small-scale production; vulnerable farmer organization – unregistered groups; lack of suitable finance and credit facilities to farmers; and inadequate good quality seed and other planting materials and other farm inputs.
MARKUP interventions for French Beans and Snow Peas value chains
- Supporting the production and marketing systems to accelerate industry growth.
- Strengthening the capacity of farmer and marketing associations to structure the industry to meet the competitive standards for the EU and EAC markets.
- Collaboration between the Government of Kenya ministries at national and county levels and other stakeholders to establish sustainable solutions for the industry.