NUTS AND OIL CROPS SUB-SECTOR GENERAL OVERVIEW

Nuts and oil crops are important agricultural commodities due to their high quality and nutritive value. The nuts and oil crops are important due to their contribution to employment, incomes and raw materials for rural and industrial processing. The subsector is important as a source of processed edible oil, animal feed and industrial oil. Locally, the major oilseeds produced are sunflower, rapeseed, coconut, castor, jatropha, oil palm, linseed, safflower, groundnuts, sesame, and jojoba. Nuts, largely used as confectionary comprise cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts and bambara nuts.

The subsector forms a major source of livelihoods for the majority of the population in the Coastal as well as parts of Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central and Eastern regions. The sub sector contributes 4.5 per cent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 1.2 per cent of the national GDP.

Major Nuts and Oil Crops

Coconut: Coconut is mainly grown in the Coastal Counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Tana River and Taita Taveta County. Pockets of the crop have been observed in Busia, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni and Homa bay Counties.

Currently the area under coconut stands at 436,634 acres with a coconut tree population of 9.9 million. Over 246 million mature coconuts are produced annually alongside other produce such as immature nuts and wine among others. About 100,194 farmers rely on the crop for their livelihoods. The monetary value of the coconut industry is KES 12.2 billion out of an estimated total potential of KES 25 billion annually.

Cashew Nuts: Cashew nut producing counties include Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu and Tharaka Nithi. The area under the crop is estimated at 28,583 acres with estimated annual production of 24,975 tons valued at KES 473.7 million. The subsector supports over 68,954 farmers. The industry directly and indirectly employs 4,000 and 50,000 people, respectively.

Macadamia: Kiambu, Murang’a, Embu, Meru, Nyeri, Baringo, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma, Taita Taveta, Kirinyaga, and Tharaka Nithi counties are major growers of macadamia. Annual production is estimated at 32,331 tons valued at KES 2.16 billion. Area currently covered by the macadamia crop is estimated at 9,707 acres. The crop supports about 6,472 farmers.

Ground nuts: Groundnuts are predominantly grown in most parts of western Kenya and Nyanza regions. Specifically the following counties are noted as significant producers of ground nuts: Kakamega; Vihiga; Bungoma; Busia, Siaya; Kisumu, Homa bay; Kisii; Trans-Nzoia and Migori. Other counties with pockets of groundnuts include: Kwale; Baringo; Elgeyo Marakwet; and Meru. Acreage under the crop is estimated at 33,952 acres with an annual production of 49,338 tons valued at KES 3.88 billion. The crop supports about 22, 634 farmers.