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Policies And Programs Towards Sustainable Development Of The Coconut Industry In Kenya

Kenya is in the Eastern part of Africa. Coconut is grown along the Coastal region though potential of the crop exist in the other parts of the Country. Currently, there are only two varieties of coconut being grown; East African Tall and the Dwarf with no hybrids. The coconut population is estimated at 9.9 million trees according to a census carried out in 2013.  About 30% of these trees are over 60 years and thus senile. The nuts are mainly utilized at raw stage with very minimal value addition. There are about 14 SMEs producing various coconut products which include VCO, copra oil, desiccated coconut, coconut milk/cream, coco peat, coconut syrup among other products. The Kenyan coconut industry faces several challenges key being large population of senile trees, lack of value addition and research among others. The coconut industry development is supported by several policies at National level which include; Kenya Vision 2030, Agricultural Sector Development Strategy(ASDS), Agriculture and Food Authority Act 2013,Crops Act 2013 and the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Organization Act2013. At County level, the coconut development is captured by the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) which have given priority to the development of the coconut subsector within the Coastal Counties. Rural electrification programme has stimulated the development of coconut industrial activities which enhance value addition activities in the rural areas. To improve on production and productivity, the National government has been supporting a coconut seedlingssubsidyprogramme for the last 5 years with 520,759 seedlings distributed for planting in the 2015/16 financial year. Promotional activities have been organized to create awareness in technology transfer and local consumption of coconut products. To ensure compliance to the market, 14 coconut products standards have been developed in collaboration with Kenya Bureau of Standards. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Pwani University Collage (PUC)are undertaking research in the coconut seedlings propagation through Tissue Culture Technology to promote the production of quality coconut planting material. Establishment of a seed garden is being explored with the technical assistance of APCC. The future for the development of the coconut industry is bright and needs support from other partners, APCC being the major hope.

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