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Export-Oriented Horticultural Production in Laikipia, Kenya: Assessing the Implications for Rural Livelihoods


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  • Anne Ulrich

    (Department of Geography, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, Heidelberg 69120, Germany)

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    Smallholders in the global South are confronted with new opportunities and risks emanating from globalized markets of agricultural goods. In Kenya, large-scale export-oriented horticulture farms, cultivating fruits, flowers and vegetables, were by and large established in the 1980s. In Laikipia County, the farms have grown to be the most important employers tying the region into global markets. The growth of the industry has direct as well as indirect impacts on local livelihoods. Based on qualitative data gathered from 55 interviews held with experts, local households and employees, the assessment shows a range of economic, social and environmental opportunities as well as constraints. Three major shortcomings are identified, the first being increasing river water abstractions and related water scarcity, second the call for living wages and social security, and third constraints smallholders face as out-growers. Addressing these issues can contribute to a more sustainable development in the region.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 336-347

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:336-347:d:31999

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    Keywords: livelihoods; smallholder; horticulture; agriculture; rural development; Laikipia; Kenya;

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    1. מחקר - ביטוח לאומי, 1998. "Volume 5," Working Papers, National Insurance Institute of Israel 63, National Insurance Institute of Israel.
    2. Miet Maertens & Liesbeth Colen & Johan F. M. Swinnen, 2011. "Globalisation and poverty in Senegal: a worst case scenario?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 31-54, March.
    3. AUGIER Patricia & GAZIOREK Michael & LAITONG Charles, 2004. "The Impact of Rules of Origin On Trade Flows," International Trade, EconWPA 0404001, EconWPA.
    4. Stefan Ouma, 2010. "Global Standards, Local Realities: Private Agrifood Governance and the Restructuring of the Kenyan Horticulture Industry," Economic Geography, Clark University, Clark University, vol. 86(2), pages 197-222, 04.
    5. C. Dolan & J. Humphrey, 2000. "Governance and Trade in Fresh Vegetables: The Impact of UK Supermarkets on the African Horticulture Industry," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 147-176.
    6. Swinnen, Johan F.M. & Maertens, Miet, 2006. "Globalization, Privatization, and Vertical Coordination in Food Value Chains in Developing and Transition Countries," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia, International Association of Agricultural Economists 25626, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Peter Dannenberg & Gilbert M. Nduru, 2013. "Practices In International Value Chains: The Case Of The Kenyan Fruit And Vegetable Chain Beyond The Exclusion Debate," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 104(1), pages 41-56, 02.
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