Agricultural Investment Opportunities in Kenya

Last Updated on: 22nd March 2024, 12:59 pm

Are you a Kenyan living abroad and would like to invest back home? Or are you an international investor who would like to invest in Kenya? Well, Agriculture offers some of the best investment opportunities in Kenya.

Kenya has fertile ground, diverse climate conditions, and an ever-growing population for suitable agricultural investment. 

In this blog, I will discuss Agricultural investment opportunities in Kenya. From crop & livestock farming to the processing industry, you will have something to venture into once you come back home.                                                                                                                                   

Why You Should Invest in the Agricultural Sector in Kenya

Why Agriculture is one of the best investment opportunities in Kenya

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy, and it presents a wealth of opportunities for global investors to partake in its growth story. Therefore, whether you’re an experienced investor or an entrepreneur, Kenya’s agricultural landscape holds the promise of prosperity.

Here are the reasons why you should try the investment opportunities in Kenya’s agricultural sector. 

  1. Growing population

Kenya is among the top ten most populated countries in Africa, boasting a population of 53.8 million people. This number is predicted to double by 2050, meaning demand for agricultural products will increase. This makes it a wise decision to invest in Kenya’s farming sector.

  1. Favorable climate

Kenya has regions with favorable climates for various crops. For instance, the areas around Mount Kenya and Kericho are suitable for growing tea and coffee. In addition, the western region does well in maize and sugarcane, which are both in-demand products in the country.

  1. Government support

As of 2022, the government of Kenya introduced fertilizer subsidies to farmers. Since unsubsidized fertilizer is very expensive, the subsidy made it possible for massive crop production. Furthermore, the government has developed infrastructure in areas with much agricultural produce, such as Kitale maize farms, central Kenya dairy farms, fruits farms in Makueni, etc., to ease the supply chain.

  1. Diversification

The agricultural sector in Kenya is not all about the crops. You can also invest in dairy farming, agricultural technology tools, value addition, and export farming. 

  1. Job creation

The more you invest in the agricultural sector in Kenya, the more jobs you will create for the youths. Kenya has millions of educated personnel who can handle your investment with ultimate knowledge. 

Investment Opportunities in Kenya: The Agricultural Sector

As much as Kenya has various business opportunities, the agricultural sector can do wonders for your investment goals. 

You can invest in as many as 10 agricultural ventures in Kenya, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Let me guide you on how to do it now. 

1. Crop Farming

Crop farming investment in Kenya

Kenya has favorable conditions for growing various crops such as maize, wheat, sugarcane, tea, coffee, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Investing in crop farming is very lucrative, especially if you focus on high-value crops.

For example, according to 2019 census reports, Kenya had over 12 million households, and every household uses maize products at least once daily. Although most of these households grow maize, it’s never enough till the next harvests. 

Therefore, you can leverage this investment opportunity to grow maize and supply it in drought-stricken areas such as the lower eastern and northern Kenya regions.

Kenya is also known for its sweet fruits, especially those from Makueni County. You can leverage this opportunity to start a fruit export business. Alternatively, you can venture into short-term fruit farming, such as planting watermelons, which is popular in Makueni, Kitui and Machakos counties. 

Kenyans are vegetarians, but the farmers do not usually satisfy the demand for vegetables. You can get land near a water source like a permanent river or borehole and venture into the vegetable business. 

You should hire a certified agronomist to help in managing your crop’s pests and diseases. This will help in increasing the productivity. 

2. Livestock Farming

Livestock investment opportunities in Kenya

Livestock farming, including dairy farming, poultry farming, and livestock fattening, presents significant investment opportunities in Kenya. As long as the population keeps growing, the demand for meat, milk, and eggs, both domestically and in regional export markets, will continue to increase.

Dairy farming does well in cool and wet regions such as central Kenya, Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and some parts of Makueni, such as areas around Mbooni Hills. To succeed in dairy farming, you should focus on getting land with enough pasture and high-quality dairy cow breeds that can produce over 50 litres per day. 

Still, on livestock investment opportunities in Kenya, you can venture into the beef fattening business. In this type of venture, you can start your farm and buy young bulls in phases and sell them later after they gain enough weight for slaughter.

Furthermore, chickens are eaten at least once a week in most Kenyan homesteads. In addition, the big hotels in Kenya have chicken and eggs on their daily menu. That means there is a high demand for chicken and eggs in the country. And that poses a great investment opportunity in poultry farming. 

To get the best poultry breeds, you should get chicks from high-quality hatcheries such as the Kenchic and Kukuchic companies. 

You can hire a certified veterinarian to help you manage your livestock farming, from managing the vaccination programs to feeding and multiplication procedures.

3. Agro-Processing/ Value-Addition

Agro-processing investment opportunities in Kenya

Processing units such as food processing plants, fruit juice factories, dairy processing plants, and grain milling facilities are great investment opportunities in Kenya’s agricultural sector.

These facilities add value to agricultural products and increase their marketability and profitability. Therefore, with the right technology and management, agro-processing is a great and profitable agricultural investment opportunity in Kenya.

However, you should be selective about where you set up your processing plants. For instance, for the addition of dairy product value, consider setting up your plant in Rift Valley or Central Kenya. 

For a fruit processing plant, you should set it up in Makueni County, where you can get input from the large-scale farmers nearby. Furthermore, you can set up a milling company in Kitale, where maize production is always the highest.

Your success in the value-addition sector depends on the machines and the personnel you have. Your staff should be knowledgeable in the sector. Therefore, ensure you hire the best machine operators in Kenya for successful output. 

4. Investment Opportunities in Kenya: Aquaculture

Invest in aquaculture

Kenya has vast freshwater resources suitable for fish farming. Therefore, investing in aquaculture involves setting up fish ponds or cage farming in lakes or dams. Tilapia, catfish, and trout are some popular species farmed in Kenya.

Although many lakes in Kenya have fish, including the largest one—Lake Victoria, the fish is not enough for the local market. As a result, this calls for investment opportunities in the aquaculture sector.

For instance, sometime in 2023, I visited a certain farm in Machakos County, The Kamuthanga Fish Farm. This farm is located 20km from Machakos town via the Machakos-Kangundo road. The farm has tilapia and catfish species. 

The good thing I liked about this farm is that the owner made an eatery where they serve freshly caught and cooked fish from the pod and Ugali. And they are very delicious, of course. This is a popular getaway for anyone seeking a secluded place to take fresh aqua meals.

You can start an eco-friendly fish farm anywhere in Kenya if you have a freshwater supply. You can add other earning methods, such as training people and students at a fee, like the Kamuthanga farm.

However, you should first learn about aquaculture and obtain the necessary licenses to operate peacefully. Furthermore, you should employ knowledgeable staff to help you manage the farm professionally.

5. Agribusiness

Investment opportunities in Kenya: Agribusiness

Other opportunities in the agricultural supply chain include distribution, logistics, storage, and marketing of farm inputs and products. Agribusiness serves as one of the top investment opportunities in Kenya. 

Investing in agribusiness services such as agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides), farm machinery, and irrigation systems is a lucrative business venture. 

You can start an agro vet in agriculture-active regions such as the Central, Western, Rift Valley, Eastern, and some parts of the coastal region in Kenya. Here, you will be selling suitable inputs as per the region. However, you will need various certifications, such as a license from the Pest control board, the seeds board, and the veterinary products board. 

Alternatively, you can invest in agricultural tools such as ploughing, spaying, farming, irrigation, etc. To increase the profitability of these tools, you can liaise with abroad markets like China or Japan to get from the manufacturer. 

6. Investment Opportunities in Kenya: Greenhouse Farming

Greenhouse farming

Given Kenya’s favourable climate, greenhouse farming enables the year-round production of high-value crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and roses. Investing in modern greenhouse technology can increase productivity and profitability.

In addition, a greenhouse is easier to manage pests and diseases than in an open field. In addition, a greenhouse guarantees over 10 times more production than open fields. 

Furthermore, you can set up a greenhouse anywhere in the country. 

7. Export-oriented Farming

Invest in Export-oriented farming

Kenya has established export markets for various agricultural products, especially in Europe and the Middle East. Kenya’s highest exports are tea and horticulture, recording revenue of Ksh.163 billion and Ksh.131 billion, respectively, in 2022

Therefore, investing in export-oriented farming, focusing on meeting international quality standards and certifications, can be financially rewarding.

For example, I came from an area where we grow French beans for export purposes. The guidelines are very strict, such that we cannot use certain chemicals, and if anyone uses them, their products will be returned. 

The good news is that French bean farming has been a good business in our village, and it’s still growing if we all adhere to the rules. 

You can venture into farming the most exported farm products, such as tea, coffee, flowers, cucumbers, French beans, and fruits. 

8. Investment Opportunities in Kenya: Organic Farming

Organic farming investment opportunities in Kenya

There is a growing demand for organic produce both locally and internationally. Therefore, investing in organic farming practices and certification can cater to this niche market and command premium prices for organic products.

Sustainable agricultural practices are in high demand as people notice the dangers of chemicals and fertilizers to their overall health. For instance, farming using organic manure poses fewer health risks compared to chemical fertilizers.

Furthermore, investing in organic chemicals derived from natural resources, such as plants, is a great agricultural investment opportunity in Kenya. For example, products such as neem oil, pyrethrum extracts, and botanical extracts(chili, ginger, garlic) are great pest repellants.

Additionally, there are also beneficial bacteria and fungi; the microbial inoculants are great organic farming inputs in which you can invest. Furthermore, other organic farming inputs include seaweed extracts and mineral-based products such as kaolin. 

Organic agriculture has yet to set out in Kenya, and you can be one of the pioneers in moving Kenya into healthy farming and eating. 

All you need is a determined research team and ready to invest in this unpopular agricultural opportunity in Kenya. 

9. Research and Development

Research and development opportunities in Kenya

Investing in agricultural research and development, including biotechnology, innovative farming techniques, and crop improvement, is a great opportunity. Your research can lead to the development of high-yielding and disease-resistant crop varieties, contributing to agricultural productivity and sustainability.

From your knowledge, you can invest in a research plant where you can test various chemicals and organic products to develop new chemicals or organic farming inputs. You also need a determined team to succeed in this investment. 

Food is a daily requirement in everyone’s life. You will be in business longer than you expected if you put in the right efforts.

10. Agricultural Technology

Agricultural technology tools investment opportunities in Kenya

Investing in agricultural technology solutions such as precision farming, farm management software, and remote sensing technology can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance productivity in the agricultural sector.

For instance, technology tools such as drone spraying have not yet been practised in Kenya. That said, you can invest in the manufacturing of these products to ease agricultural production.

Furthermore, technologies such as pest and disease diagnosis applications are also a great path to innovative agriculture in Kenya. You only need to hire highly qualified software engineers, and you are set to go. 

Agricultural Investment Opportunities in Kenya: The Bottom Line

Before investing in agriculture in Kenya, it’s essential to conduct thorough market research, assess potential risks, and consider factors such as land access, infrastructure, regulatory environment, and access to finance. 

In addition, partnering with local agricultural experts and stakeholders will facilitate successful investment in the sector.

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