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Kenya: Domestic market grows by 40 percent in 2008

The Kenya organic domestic market is growing fast. A recent study of the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network KOAN, compiled by Samuel Ndungu and Jack Juma, gives an overview of the the national organic market in 2008.

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According to this study, there is a registered interest from traders to invest in organic businesses nationwide. The number of organic certified enterprises to supply the domestic market has grown to reach 27; nine of whom are smallholder producer groups. An additional nine organic export oriented enterprises also sell a small percentage of their products locally.

Although no specific market study has been carried out to determine the size of the organic market, the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network KOAN estimates the value to be close to 30 million Kenya shillings (approximately 270'000 Euros), representing 4.6 percent of the total turnover of the organic sector. The annual growth of organic domestic market in size is currently estimated to be at 40 percent. With a push from the big international community who are working with various United Nations offices, the premiums for organic produce have been ranging from 30 to 40 percent.

Currently close to 3'000 farmers are involved in selling organic produce to different outlets. Out of these, 1300,  representing 7 farmers associations and 17 individuals, have been certified through a third party verification system while the rest are trained on organic production technologies and have a verification arrangement with the buyer. The produce marketed by this farmers include vegetables fruits, salads, herbs, spices, pulses, and processed products that includes honey, jams, daily products, dehydrated vegetables, herbal teas and dried fruits.

The Kenyan domestic organic market is facilitated by seven main commercial actors:

  • Kalimoni greens organic shop,
  • Bridges Organic Health Restaurant - 2 Restaurants,
  • Green Dreams Limited/Food network East Africa,
  • Masai Eco farms,
  • Meadows,
  • Pure health Products,
  • Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF).

Currently there is a monthly organic farmers' market which has been established near one of the up market estates at the River Garden Centre in Nairobi. Organic products are also sold through the three main supermarket chains in the country; Nakumatt, Uchumi, and Chandarana supermarkets (six stores). There are also six specialized food stores which stock organic products in designated sections or as part of their normal products

Some of the traders are operating basket delivery system to consumer’s homes or workplaces. This market segment has also been growing steadily and gaining popularity among the working class. Currently a total of 185 consumers are being supplied with organic basket fruits, vegetables, salads, and herbs. Baskets are usually supplied on a weekly basis to consumers 40 percent of whom are expatriates.

Most of the produce sold through the different supply chains has gone through third party verification system and therefore carry Encert certification mark and/or East African Organic Mark. Other products are branded and are in different stages of certification

Having the largest economy in the East African, Kenya’s demand for organic produce from other East African countries is high. Branded products from both Uganda and Tanzania are currently being sold in the organic outlets. Products sourced regionally by different organic traders include; herbal teas, spices, dried fruits, juices, vanilla and honey.

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