Uasin Gishu is country's leading food basket, survey shows

Aerial view of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu County. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

Uasin Gishu is the top agricultural county having the highest number of farming land parcels followed by Kakamega and Trans Nzoia, a new survey shows.

This is as the semi-arid Isiolo County was the lowest-ranked even below Kenya’s capital Nairobi and other drier North Eastern counties when it comes to farming.

The findings are contained in the Census of Commercial and Institutional Farms and Specialty Crops released yesterday by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

“Uasin Gishu, Kakamega, and Trans Nzoia have the highest aggregate area of agricultural holdings, respectively regardless of the type while Isiolo had the least,” said the CCIFSC.

Agricultural holdings with sizes between 25 to 125 acres accounted for 75.8 per cent while 9.6 per cent of the holdings reported sizes within the 126 to 750 acres range. 

Agricultural holdings of sizes less than 25 acres accounted for 12.8 per cent of the total while the share of agricultural holdings with over 750 acres and above was 7.2 per cent.

Over 80 per cent of crop production in commercial farms in the country is rainfed. “This explains the vulnerability experienced by farmers,” said the agricultural census conducted in 2020. This is as crop production from irrigated farms was at 14 per cent and partially irrigated at 3.7 per cent.

The findings showed that 41.3 per cent of the agricultural holdings relied on rainfall for crop production with maize, wheat, sugarcane, tea, and dry beans topping the list respectively.

Of the agricultural holdings irrigating crops, tomatoes, maize, mangoes, bananas, and watermelons were the leading crops respectively.

For agricultural holdings undertaking partial irrigation, coffee, maize, and Irish potatoes were the main crops.

Over 85 per cent of farms were operated by households while farms managed by companies or enterprises represented 12 per cent while 3 per cent are operated by institutions, said the survey.

On the proportion of the total area of household agricultural holdings by county, Narok County had the highest proportion at 20.5 per cent.

Uasin Gishu closely followed with a share of 16.8 per cent. Baringo County had the lowest proportion of the area of household agricultural holdings at 0.1 per cent.

Kiambu County had the highest proportion of acreages of agricultural holdings belonging to enterprises or companies at 12.3 per cent. Nakuru closely followed with a share of 11.7 per cent. Most counties had a share of less than five per cent in this category, said the report.  

Maize had the highest number of agricultural holdings with a proportion of 38 per cent followed by wheat at 11.7 per cent. The proportion of commercial and institutional agricultural holdings that grew tea and coffee were 5 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.