Employment Creation in Agriculture & Agro-Processing Sector in Kenya in the Context of Inclusive Growth: Political Economy & Settlement Analysis

Kenya, like most African countries has experienced an impressive economic growth in the last decade, evidenced by a 5% annual GDP  growth rate, yet unemployment, poverty and gender disparities remain high. Despite employment creation being on top of the development agenda since independence, policies adopted to address this do not seem to be working, raising questions of the sustainability of the growth being experienced.

From the Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 to the Vision 2030 of 2008, agriculture has been flagged as central in job creation but experience show contrary trends. The big question to policy analysts is whether agriculture has the potential to create the much needed jobs for inclusive growth in Kenya.

This study sought to understand employment and employment creation in the agricultural sector. Specifically, why, despite impressive growth in Kenya, poverty and unemployment persist. Why, despite several policy interventions, not much has changed in terms of employment creation? Why the benefits of growth have not been trickling down to the masses, leading to growing calls for more inclusive models of growth to avert social instability. Finally, why increasing economic growth has not been shared or inclusive?

To answer the above questions, this study used two case studies, sugar and cut-flower industries. These two industries were identified because of their diversity in employment creation by gender, government involvement and embedded political issues. The study used a political settlements analysis lens. Mixed method approach to collect data included key informants, FGDs and employee surveys to study the two value chains both of which involved agriculture and agro-processing elements.

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