Agriculture spurs economic growth

Activities of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing were vibrant in 2018 mainly on account of favourable weather conditions that characterised the year, Economic Survey 2019 says.

The sector’s growth accelerated from a revised growth of 1.9 per cent in 2017 to 6.4 per cent in 2018, mainly driven by marked improvement in crops and animal production that benefited significantly from the sufficient rains during the period under review.

Adequate rainfall, the survey, released in Nairobi yesterday, said also triggered growth in other sectors of the economy, for example, manufacturing, agribusiness and beverage sub-sectors of manufacturing sector benefited from high agricultural production.  

Launching the survey, National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich observed that the performance of agriculture sector in the review period follows poor performance in 2017 when the economy suffered from prolonged drought, leading to steep rise in food prices. 

Maize flour

Prices, especially maize flour, in 2017 reached between Sh140 and Sh150 for 2kg packet. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Director general Zakary Mwangi said the value of marketed agricultural production has been increasing over the last four years and went up by 11.4 per cent to Sh497.9 billion in the review period.

The value of marketed livestock and livestock products also increased by 8.3 per cent to Sh146.8 billion last year.

Share of crops to the marketed production increased from 69.7 per cent in 2017 to 70.5 per cent in 2018.

“During the year under review, favourable weather resulted in higher volumes of marketed production. Earnings were, however, dampened by lower prices for various commodities compared to earnings realised in the previous year,” Mwangi said.  Wheat farmers earned Sh11.7 billion compared to 5.2 billion in 2017 after producing 330,300 tonnes in the review period from 156,900 tonnes, a growth of 103.8 per cent.

Maize production increased by 26 per cent from 35.4 million bags in 2017 to 44.6 million bags in 2018, the highest harvest the country has ever registered in the last decade.

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