Smallholder Farmers Grow for Export Markets
Baby corn, French beans, snow peas, pigeon peas, and bullet chili were once unfamiliar crops among Kenyan small-scale farmers because they were mainly grown by large growers for export.
The crops are grown under stringent conditions as demanded by the export market, and thus, only the large growers could do so and export directly in the past.
However, tables have turned over the years as an increasing number of small-scale Kenyan farmers, including those in villages, have embraced the crops and export them through agents.
It is a lucrative business that is picking up fast among smallholder farmers in the East African nation after many of them were frustrated by crops like maize.
In 2018, Kenya and China signed an agreement allowing the East African country to export various agricultural products to China, something which has seen Kenyan farmers benefit greatly.
However, the Lack of good agricultural practices and improper handling of food is not only hindering numerous farmers from accessing the international market, but also leads to a massive loss of food.
This is despite the fact that millions of Kenyans are food insecure. In a recent report, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said at least 14 per cent of all food around the world is lost before it can be retailed.
Despite the availability of overseas markets, Kenyan farmers still need help to be able to adhere to the standards not only for the international market but also for local consumption.
Previously, some farmers could not export fresh avocado to China because of pests lest the pest spread.
Importantly, exporters are required to adhere to common global standards by the World Trade Organisation, World Health Organisation, and FAO.