Productive Employment in Segmented Markets of Fresh Produce

Time span of the project    2014-2017
Contact personRemco Oostendorp
Project partners
Partnership of Economic Policy (PEP); VU Amsterdam (VU); Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID); University of Nairobi (UoN); Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK); and Grupo deAnalisispara el Desarrollo (GRADE)
Project sponsorNWO/WOTRO
Project website

This research project investigates the segmentation of the avocado sector in Kenya, comparing a modern and innovatively programmed and a more traditional and non-programmed mode of farming. 

In the former, farmers directly linked to exporters through contractual relationships and produce according to (certified) Global Good Agricultural Practices (Global GAPs) and agricultural products can be traced back to the producer. In the latter, farmers sell their outputs to ‘brokers’ or middlemen using non-certified production methods and products cannot be traced in the production chain.  

The aim of the project is to study the effects of moving from the traditional to the modern sector on small-scale avocado growers.  At the end of 2016 baseline household and farmer group survey data were collected from Murang’a County in central Kenya among three types of farmers, namely (i) farmers who already had a contract with an exporter during the previous season, (ii) farmers who had just signed a contract with an exporter that would become effective during the following season, and (iii) farmers who had no contract signed. 

An endline survey will be organized mid-2017 to evaluate the impact of contract farming on the avocado smallholder farmers, in terms of (avocado) income and productive employment (including female and youth employment). 

The study includes also a comparative component looking at the recent and strong emergence of Peru as a global avocado exporter and will draw policy lessons from this global competitor’s success for Kenya.