Our Focus on Agri-inputs

Why We Focus On Agri-inputs

Despite the importance of agriculture to the Kenyan economy, it has not been performing to its potential. There is limited diversification away from staple crops, such as maize, and average yields remaining below those of comparable countries. Kenyan farmers use relatively low levels of inputs. This lowers productivity and therefore farmers’ returns and their ability to reinvest in their crops.

Sector At A Glance

The Sector

Key agricultural inputs categories are fertilizers, seeds, farm equipment and agrochemicals
  • Kg's/H

Fertiliser Usage Per Hectare in 2012.

Kenya’s input use is low

With an average use of 44kg of fertiliser per hectare in 2012. In contrast, South Africa was at 62kg, India 164kg & Brazil at 182kg.

The Market

All agricultural inputs are distributed through a system of importers, wholesalers and retailers

75 Agrochemical Manufacturers

Over 7000 Agrovet Dealers

  • Imported
  • Local

90% Of Fertilizer Is Imported

11 major fertilizer imports account for 95% of 500,000T imports. 90% of fertilizer is imported with 10% being blended locally.

The Farmer

Key agricultural inputs categories are fertilizers, seeds, farm equipment and agrochemicals

The World Bank estimates that women make up 70% of Kenya’s farmers.

(Source: Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook, World Bank, page 16, Figure 1.4)

  • Commercial
  • Non Commercial

Only 50% of smallholder farmers participate in commercial farming.

70% use fertilizer and 30% use certified seeds.

3.5 million Smallholder Farmers

Kenya’s agriculture is predominantly smallholder farmers accounting to 3.5 million.

Farm productivity per Ha in Kenya is lower than the global average

Maize Production: Kenya Vs. Global Average

Maize production in Kenya is 1.6MT/Ha.

The global average is 6MT/ha.

Dynamics Of The Sector

General Supply Trends

Inputs Supply By Private Sector

Agricultural inputs supply is mostly driven by private sector, though in fertilizer, Government imports and distributes at subsidized prices.

Agricultural Inputs Availability

Agricultural inputs are only available in high agricultural potential areas and to large scale commercial farmers.

Information On Products

Inadequate flow of information on products’ use and benefits through the trade chain.

Quality Standards

Weak enforcement of inputs quality standards has led to proliferation of substandard products and counterfeits.

Financial Capacity

Lack of adequate financial capacity of traders to sufficiently stock for the peak periods.

General Demand Trends

Farmer Education

Increasing farmer education and discernment leading to demand for quality inputs.

Climate Change

Climate change impact and land fragmentation is driving the need for more effective agricultural inputs

Farm Productivity

Low farm productivity is calling for adoption of new technologies and innovations.

Growing Population

Growing urban population is increasing the demand for agricultural produce

Key Sector Challenges

Inputs Access & Use

  • Farmers lack information about right type of farm inputs, right application and right time of use.
  • Poor rural roads and other key physical infrastructure have led to high transportation costs for agricultural inputs and services.
  • Low agro-dealer investment in the rural areas.

Soil Degradation

  • Insufficient information on soil preservation practices causing land overuse and soil degradation.
  • Insufficient access to soil testing services to determine the soil nutrition, pests and diseases.

Extension Services & Technology

  • Limited access to extension services hindering faster adaptation of new farm practices.
  • Inadequate research and farmer linkages reducing access to new farming technologies.

Climate Change

  • Changing and unpredictable weather patterns greatly affecting rain-fed agriculture.
  • Varying climatic conditions causing an increase in pests and diseases.
  • Lack of information on farm-level technologies to address climate change challenges.

What Are Our Interventions?

Improve access and demand of quality agricultural inputs

Adoption of innovative trade inventory management systems

Enable commercialization of climate smart products and climate resilient agricultural inputs

Promote availability of affordable financial products for smallholder farmers and rural agro-dealers

Improve agricultural inputs market information

Adoption of innovative ways to pass on appropriate information across the supply chain

Adoption of ICT, improved marketing and customer service practices across agricultural inputs’ trade

Enhance application of quality standards

Advocate change of agricultural inputs packaging material taxation legislation to lower inputs prices

Promote enforcement of agricultural inputs quality control to reduce substandard products and counterfeits

Systemic Change Indicators


30% of trained agro dealers adopt improved business & customer management practices. Impact over 2,000 agro dealers in the next 5 years.

Large Companies & Service Providers

Large companies investing in improved distribution and farmer support. Service Providers make own investments to commercialize their services.

Maize Yields

Over 2 million farmers increase their maize yields from 1.6mt/ha to 3mt/ha.

Quality Inputs

Over 2.45 million farmers will be using quality inputs in 10 years. Over 3 million farmers will have improved access to inputs, usage & performance.


35 large scale market actors adapt new ways of training and dissemination of information across the supply chain.

Learn About Our Work in the Agri-inputs Sector

KMT Case Study

Transforming Kenya's Agricultural Inputs Sector

Why it matters, what’s been achieved and where next.

Format: PDF
Size: 2.64 MB

Other Focus Areas

Our Research

Facilitating markets through research for evidence-based interventions

Our Case Studies

Actual examples of how our work is making a change

Our Blog

Opinion pieces and editorials on our work and related activities

Impact Stories

Stories from all over Kenya on how our work is impacting the lives of people

Share This Page


A Dawn of a New Chapter for Kenya Markets Trust

After years of successfully working together as partners with a shared mission of transforming sectors in East Africa, Gatsby Africa, Kenya Markets Trust and Msingi East Africa have decided to integrate and become one entity as of April 01, 2022.

The new integrated entity will be called Gatsby Africa – a philanthropic entity of Lord David Sainsbury and will operate across six sectors in East Africa – Commercial Forestry, Aquaculture, Textiles and Apparel, Livestock, Agricultural Inputs, and Water.

We believe that the ambition and vision of the new organisation, coupled with the breadth of our portfolio, puts us in a strong position to deliver a meaningful level of impact for millions of people in the East African region. It equally strengthens our ability to generate and share our learning with others.

Coming together allows us to leverage the strengths of the three organisations, brings efficiency to how we work, and ensures we have a greater impact in our work.

What does this mean for the work that we have been passionately championing over the years? There will be no changes to the focus and modalities of how we work or our shared commitments – our three existing programmes will continue to operate in the same way they have always done.

We will be launching the new integrated Gatsby Africa organisation on April 01, 2022. By mid-April, we will share with you a link to our new website and official social media handles. However, we will retain our current website for a minimum period of six months, so that our knowledge materials are available to you. We shall be moving these over to our new website so that nothing will be lost.

As an organisation, we are excited about the opportunities that this integration brings for our people, partners and the sectors we work in. We are humbled by the collaboration and good working relationship we have had with all our different stakeholders and look forward to continuing working with you in the new organisation.