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