A rise in the production of tea, milk and other food crops saw Kenya’s agriculture industry grow by 4.6 per cent last year compared to 2.3 per cent uptick in 2019.
The industry’s growth was in contrast to the dismal economic activity experienced across all other sectors as Kenya’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 0.3 per cent compared to a growth of 5 per cent in 2019.
Globally, the real GDP contracted by 4.2 per cent last year compared to 2.7 per cent jump in 2019, a performance that was worse than the 2008/2009 global financial crisis period.
In the pandemic year, tea production went up by 24.1 per cent to 569.5 thousand tonnes from 458.8 thousand tonnes in 2019 on account of adequate rainfall in the country’s tea growing areas, the 2021 Economic Survey report notes.
The volume of marketed milk in the country increased by 2.1 per cent to 682.3 million last year from 668.2 million litres sold in 2019.
Further, cane farmers delivered six million tonnes of the produce to millers last year being an increase from 4.4 million tonnes of sugarcane delivered in the previous year.
Overall, the value of marketed agricultural produce surged by 9.3 per cent to Kes509.7 billion last year from Kes466.3 billion in 2019.
In the pandemic year, however, maize production reduced by 4.3 per cent to 42.1 million bags from from 44 million bags realized in 2019.
Similarly, coffee output reduced to 36.9 thousand tonnes in 2019/20 from 45.0 thousand tonnes in 2018/19.
Kenya is a leading producer of tea and coffee, as well as the third-leading exporter of fresh produce, such as cabbages, onions and mangoes. The sector contributes about 33 per cent of Kenya’s GDP while providing jobs to more than 40 per cent of the total population.