Lack of rainfall for the better part of last year leading to severe drought subdued Kenya’s economic growth as the economy expanded just 4.8pc from 7.6pc registered in 2021.
According to 2023 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the drought hampered growth in agriculture, forestry and fishing sector which contracted by 1.6pc despite better performance registered in financial and insurance, transportation and storage, real estate, wholesale and retail trade and information and communication sub-sectors.
As a result, the Kenya which is heavily dependent of agriculture for employment and foreign exchange saw production of key crops such as maize, potatoes, beans, cut flower, vegetables, tea, wheat and milk declined during the period under review.
“The suppressed agricultural production impacted negatively on other industries, particularly, agro processing and, Wholesale and retail trade. This indeed shows that the structure and quality of the growth does matter,” said Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, National Treasury and Economic Planning.
Prof. Ndung’u says the government is targeting to invest in irrigation in order to cut Kenya’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture and increase acreage under crop cultivation.
“The Government will continue to subsidize agricultural inputs and particularly fertilizer to boost agriculture production and thereby reduce the cost of living. Further, The Government will collaborate with county governments to ensure that each county has at least one agricultural value addition processing plant and different forms of aggregators dependent on the pattern of production,” he said.
Nonetheless, the country managed to create 816,000 new jobs in education, manufacturing, health, wholesale and retail trade, ICT and Transport.