The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of the Kenyan economy. According to a report in the East African newspaper, just two months into the crisis, more than one million people had lost their jobs, while 75% of small businesses were facing imminent collapse. In light of these unprecedented disruptions, this article delves into some repercussions, as well as future perspectives, for Kenya’s agri-food sector.

Since the majority of Kenyans derive their livelihoods from agriculture, and related industries, the article explores whether the agro-processing sector could help realise the country’s constantly missed industrialization targets, while bridging the employment gap…

There is no question about it: Kenya’s hospitality industry — which includes the country’s lucrative tourism sector — is one of the biggest casualties of Covid-19. According to government estimates, the industry has lost an estimated KES 80 Billion (USD 800 million) since the onset of the pandemic.

To borrow some medical terms that we’ve become accustomed to in recent months, the sector is in an acute state. It is trying to breathe, yet there are not enough ventilators in sight. …

As the second quarter of 2020 came to a close, Kenya, much like the rest of the world, was reflecting on a period full of uncertainties in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although a 3-month countrywide lock-down was lifted on 6th of July, there are still fears that the situation may be far from being contained. It is possible that further restrictions may be put in place as the infection rates keep rising, having just exceeded 14,000 with 6,200 recoveries and 250 fatalities.

When the pandemic was first reported in the country in early March, many feared the worst…

Long-distance truck drivers form an essential part of the food system. They are the link between different nodes of production or import, and the final points of food distribution, and consumption. Beyond that, truck drivers haul chemicals, equipment, and other inputs that are essential for a myriad of agricultural activities along the entire value chain.

As such, truck drivers are vital in maintaining regional food security. In the Eastern African region, 83% of transit cargo on Kenyan roads goes to Uganda, with Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), accounting for the rest. …

In a previous article, I focused on how Covid-19 has led to an increase in the volume of online food transactions in Kenya. People moved online due to a confluence of the movement restrictions put in place by the government, as well as their fear of contracting the virus if they continued to go out shopping as they did before.

In a bid to further understand the dynamics of this evolving situation, I carried out a simple online survey, titled: ‘Online Buying and Selling of Food Products during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya’. The study consisted of 11 questions on…

It is an undeniable fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected wide swathes of the global economy. Coupled with social “shutdowns,” pandemic-induced disruptions have defined the first half of 2020, as governments enforce policies meant to contain the virus.

Inevitably, food distribution lines have been severely disrupted, both at national, and regional levels. The humble onion offers a good case study of the pandemic’s impact, right from household level, to intra-regional trade in East Africa.

Onion trade patterns in East Africa

In 2017, the regional agribusiness organisation, Kilimo Trust, carried out a study titled: ‘Characteristics of markets for red bulb…

“No human is limited,” Eliud Kipchoge famously said, moments after breaking the two-hour marathon barrier. This staggering show of athleticism in front of a global audience was the latest proof of Kenya’s dominance in long-distance races. The entire country had been in a frenzy for weeks, with corporations, politicians, diverse civil society organizations, and individual Kenyans, all finding ways to claim a piece of their hero.

Eliud Kipchoge in action during the INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna, November 2019 (Source: Business Insider)

Amid the vigorous debates on the real reason behind Kipchoge’s (and Kenyan athletes’) success, lies one undeniable fact…

Covid-19 has had a negative impact on all manner of industries in Kenya. Many shops have shut their doors. Usually crowded parking lots in office blocks are empty. Public service vehicles are parked. Industrial conveyor belts have halted. Once thriving flower farms that supplied Europe’s flower auctions on a daily basis are no more. Night clubs and concerts play no music. Leading hotel chains are closing shop. Supermarkets are working within limited hours.

It is, simply put, a terrible situation with no end in sight. This week, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that up to 75% of small businesses…

Since the enactment of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, whose centrepiece was the devolution of many government functions, regional administrations have taken on a greater responsibility for food security matters, and agricultural development as a whole.

Nakuru County is located in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. Even before the onset of the pandemic, the region was experiencing rapid urbanization, despite being one of the major agricultural zones of the country. Covid-19 has added to the complex maze of development challenges facing the county that can only be described as “wicked problems”.

As Kenya’s fourth largest city, the county headquarters, Nakuru, is…

Music, as the saying goes, is food for the soul.

Food is, well, food for the body.

During the week that followed the first reported Covid-19 case in Kenya, it was business as usual for venues that supply both food for the soul, as well as the body. Revelers danced happily in clubs, musical concerts played on, fresh produce markets were bustling with activity, and busy restaurants kept serving delicacies.

Then, it all came tumbling down.

The disruption came fast.

In Week 2, both the national and county governments started putting in place social distancing measures. Their first step was…

Atula Owade


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