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Crops production increased in 2020 compared to 2019

The agriculture sector in 2020 recorded a 4.8 per cent growth despite the effects of the Covid-19, the Economic Survey 2021 reveals.

Tea, wheat, rice and sugarcane production  increased by 24, 11, 13 and 48 percent respectively with forestry and fishing activities being more vibrant in 2020 than in 2019.

Animal production real Gross Value Added (GVA) grew by 3.6 percent in 2020 compared to 1.8 per cent in 2019.

“Real Gross Value Added of the sector grew by 4.8 per cent in 2020 compared to a revised growth of 2.6 per cent in 2019 and this was mainly on account of favorable weather conditions in 2020 which improved production of food crops such as beans, rice, sorghum and millet; and livestock and related products such as milk and meat,” the survey showed.

Releasing the report in Nairobi on how the economy performed last year, the National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said agriculture further benefited from sufficient rains that were well distributed throughout the year.

However, the output of some key food crops was notably lower than the projected production partly due to underperformance of the short rains as well as reduced demand from restaurants and learning institutions that remained closed for a significant part of 2020.

Maize production went down from a revised production of 44 million bags in 2019 to 42.1 million bags in 2020, while the quantity of potatoes decreased to 1.9 million bags in 2020 from 2 million bags in 2019.

“There was mixed performance in the production of cash crops during the review period. Tea production increased by 24.1 per cent from 458.8 thousand tonnes in 2019 to 569.5 thousand tonnes in 2020.

The volume of cane deliveries increased from 4.4 million in 2019 to 6.0 million tonnes in 2020.

However, the survey says that exports were negatively impacted on by contraction in the global demand of coffee production and horticultural exports however declined by 18.0 per cent and 4.5 per cent to stand at 36.9 and 313.6 thousand tonnes in 2020.

However, the CS said that earnings from horticultural produce increased by 3.9 per cent to stand at Sh150.2 billion in 2020 and this increase in the earnings was mainly attributed to better international export prices for the horticultural products in the review period.

The survey stated that the performance of the sector was further supported by growth in dairy activities where the volume of marketed milk increased from 668.2 million litres in 2019 to 682.3 million litres in 2020.

Total value of marketed production increased to Sh509.7 billion in 2020 from Sh465.7 billion in 2019. In 2019, the agriculture sector performance decelerated from 6.1 per cent in 2018 to 3.6 per cent.

The survey showed that the country experienced a mixed weather phenomenon characterized by drought during the first half of the year, followed by high rainfall in the second half of the year. This culminated in reduced production of selected crops and pasture for livestock.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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