Kenyans have cited high transport costs, poor weather conditions and high input costs as the most significant factors hampering agricultural production according to a July survey conducted by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to assess the current state of the agriculture sector.
Between May and July, the CBK drew respondents from various levels of the agriculture supply chain in major towns across the country to investigate the prices of key agricultural commodities, factors affecting agriculture, among other areas of focus.
This being the inaugural survey of the agriculture sector, 10 commodities (kales, cabbages, spinach, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, dry maize, green maize, beans and wheat) and three animal products (beef, eggs and milk) were studied.
The prices of kales, spinach and beans remained high due to persistent dry weather conditions which reduced water available for irrigation in rivers.
On the other hand, the price of tomatoes, cabbages, green maize, onions and potatoes declined.
Imports from Tanzania caused the decline in the price of onions, while reduced tomato prices were attributed to the onset of the high output season.
An elevated supply of potatoes from farmers led to price drops during the period under survey.
Respondents attributed the trends in the prices of agricultural commodities to a wide range of factors but soaring transport costs, adverse weather and increased cost of inputs such as quality seeds and fertilizer were termed as the most significant factors affecting agriculture.
Covid-19 was also a concern but it ranks fifth behind labour costs for the farmers surveyed.
Further, the Russia/Ukraine war was also identified as a considerable factor in the prevailing agricultural produce market dynamics.
Survey participants also gave proposals to improve the sector; reduce transport costs by lowering fuel prices, build more dams for irrigation to counter the adverse weather conditions and lowering of the cost of farm inputs.
The respondents involved in the survey were recruited from Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, Nakuru, Narok, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, Eldoret, Meru and Nyeri counties.