Has Kenyan Farmers’ Access to Markets and Services Improved? Panel Survey Evidence, 1997-2007
This report uses panel data on 1,267 smallholder households to monitor changes in their access to markets and services. We find that Kenyan smallholders’ proximity to infrastructure, markets, and services has improved markedly over the last decade. These improvements, however, have not been uniformly distributed over either time or space. Farmers in high-potential areas of the country continue to enjoy closer proximity to most kinds of markets and services compared to low-potential areas, but the greatest relative improvements over the 1997-2007 period have been in areas of medium and low potential. We also distinguish between public and private investments in examining changes in smallholders’ access to markets. Changes deriving from public investments have tended to be most geographically equitable; private investments appear to have been relatively concentrated in the less productive farming areas of the country, possibly because earlier investments focused on high-potential areas, leaving unexploited investment opportunities in the less productive areas. These changes in smallholders’ access to markets may offer important insights about the private sector’s response to market liberalization in recent Kenyan history.
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