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Recent Success Stories under the TAPRA II Program


Tegemeo Agricultural Policy Research and Analysis (TAPRA) II program is a 5-year collaborative program between Egerton University’s Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy Research and Development and the Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University (MSU), to be implemented from June 2012 to May 2017. The main activities are framed within the four broad thematic areas guiding TAPRA II, namely:

  • Monitoring/tracking trends and patterns in agriculture and rural livelihoods
  • Policy research to inform key policy issues and initiatives
  • Outreach and advocacy
  • Capacity building both within and outside the Institute

Key Success stories under TAPRA II

The following is a summary of the main successes that the Institute has achieved over the last one year during the implementation of the TAPRA II Program. The stories highlight the major activities that the Institute has done, collaborated in/took part in.

The Institute has conducted an assessment of the food security situation, focusing on maize production and stocks as well as imports and a report has been prepared. Budgets for maize and wheat have also been prepared based on data from selected growing regions in Kenya.

In addition to the usual cost of production (COP) work, the Institute, in partnership with other policy institutes in the region has joined the Agri benchmark group in an effort to adopt the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for farm level analysis to allow comparison of the COP structures across countries. The Institute has then used the Agri benchmark approach to develop maize budgets, and has come up with typical or representative small scale and large scale farm budgets.

Tegemeo to venture into modern day data collection and analysis technology

The Institute has also been exploring the use of the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) to replace the paper and pencil method of field data collection traditionally used. Some staff have been trained on Surveybe and SurveyCTO, which are survey platforms for electronic data collection. The piloting phase using CAPI was done towards end of 2013 and was successful hence the Institute will transition to its use in the future.

See photos ...

Tegemeo’s outreach and advocacy

The Institute organised a breakfast forum in October 2013 entitled “Achieving Sustained Food Supply in Kenya: The Role of Selected Policy Instruments.” The aim of the forum was to bring together a select group of high impact stakeholders to deliberate on options to ensure sustained food supply in Kenya. The forum drew participants from the relevant Government Ministries (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Office of the President, National Treasury, etc), Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, National Assembly, State Corporations e.g. NCPB, KARI, KMS, development agencies (USAID, FAO, etc) private sector, (millers and input suppliers), farmer organizations, consumer organisations, research institutes and universities, among others. The following Technical bulletin and two Policy Briefs were presented and shared during the forum:

  • Food Situation Assessment, 2013
  • Implications of Implementation of the VAT Act 2013 on Animal Feeds
  • Advances in Kenya’s Policy on GMO’s and its Effects on Food Security

Proceedings of the policy forum have also been finalized and shared with stakeholders.

Readmore ...

This forum elicited a lot of interest and debate and as a result, Tegemeo appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives to participate in a debate on GMO’s with the State Department of Agriculture and also made further presentations on the Implementation of the VAT Act 2013 (at the ATPAF-ESA meeting in Nairobi). The Institute was also incorporated into a team with the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO and other stakeholders on a 2 weeks field trip to reassess the food situation in the country including the role of the fertilizer subsidies and the effects of the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) on maize productivity.

Presentations in various local and international meetings

Analyses on various other issues in Kenya’s agricultural sector have been conducted and the Institute researchers have participated in various Local and International Meetings and conferences.

At the annual Conference of the American Association of Agricultural Economics (AAEA), held in Washington DC, USA, in August 2013, two papers were accepted and presented:

a)     Fertilizer use among smallholder farmers in Kenya: the role of off-farm employment

b)    The role of varietal attributes on adoption of improved seed varieties: the case of sorghum in Kenya

The Institute also prepared and presented papers at the 4th International Conference of African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE), held in Tunisia in September, 2013.

Papers presented at the conference include:

i)     Sweet potato marketing among smallholder farmers: the role of collective action

ii)    Household food security and commercialization among smallholder farmers in Kenya

iii)   Urban demand for smallholder crops; the case of fruits and vegetables in Nairobi, Kenya

iv)  Comparative Cost of Maize Production Study in East/Southern Africa using the Agri benchmark approach. - This presentation was made at the invited panel session on Introducing the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI) in East/Southern Africa: Toward a Coordinated and Locally Driven Research Agenda, and  also during a ReNAPRI board meeting held during the conference that took place in Tunisia, 2013. ReNAPRI is a regionally coordinated network of national agricultural policy research institutes in Africa and was created to respond to related challenges by promoting a coordinated and locally driven research agenda.
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Tegemeo at the MTEF budget Public Hearing

The institute was also invited as a discussant in the public hearings of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget 2014/15-2016/17 for the Agricultural and Rural Development (ARUD) Sector in January 2014. The Institute made a presentation titled Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget 2014/15-2016/17: Agricultural Rural and Urban Development (ARUD) Sector during this meeting. Readmore...

County Dissemination workshops

The Institute has also prepared an information package for the six counties whose data had been analysed and presented during County dissemination workshops held in 2011/2012 and sent them to the respective County Governors, many of whom acknowledged the benefits of receiving that kind of information.

The Counties that benefited in the first dissemination exercise include: Kakamega, Kisumu, Kirinyaga, Uasin Gishu, Makueni and Nyeri. Preparation of analysed information from the remaining counties is ongoing.

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Tegemeo at the Inaugural East Africa Evidence to Action Conference, 24th May 2017

 group photo iced

Tegemeo participated at the inaugrual East Africa Evidence to Action (ICED) Conference held on 24th-25th May 2017. 

Various speakers and panelists provided in-depth insight as well as practical tools that will enhance evidence based and data informed Policy and Practice in Africa.

Many topics were covered during this inaugural conference and in line with Tegemeo's mandate of disseminating its research findings to various stakeholders, we participated in various sessions. The Institute Director Dr. Mary Mathenge led a panel of other experts from the Institute comprising of:  

  1. Dr. Mercy Kamau, MLE Director, Tegemeo Institute
  2. Dr. Lilian Kirimi, Research Director, Tegemeo Institute
  3. Dr. Timothy Njagi, M&E Specialist, Tegemeo Institute
  4. Dr. Miltone Ayieko, Outreach, Communication & Partnerships Coordinator, Tegemeo Institute

The panel of experts discussed keys to translating Evidence to Policy and Practice: Lessons and Experiences from Agricultural Policy Research


Besides the Tegemeo team moderating in various sessions and exhibiting part of its research products, Dr. Timothy Njagi & Dr. Mary Mathenge presented at a break out session themed Adoption of Improved Technology. Their presentation was on lessons drawn from a study on Adoption of Technology Bundles among Smallholder Maize Farmers in Kenya Evaluating Socioeconomic Impacts of Mid-altitude Maize Hybrid Varieties in Kenya. Dr. Mercy Kamau and Dr. Fred Bagamba presented at yet another break out session themed: Adoption of Improved Technology. Their presentation was onImproving food security through the introduction of new seed varieties: How effective are demonstration plots and field days in influencing farmers adoption behavior towards new maize and bean varieties?

The conference was held at Park Inn Radisson Blu, Nairobi.

Visit our twitter and flickr pages to follow on part of the proceedings



Tegemeo-ELLA Workshop on Land Tenure and Sustainable Pastoralist Systems, 16th March 2017

Date: 16th March, 2017

VenueOlolulung’a Sub County Headquarters, Narok County

Pastoralism is an extensive form of livestock production that constitutes the main production system found in rangelands, providing livelihoods to an estimated of 500 million people globally. Similar to other parts of the world, the country’s public policy has not always pursued policies that are sustain pastoralism. This has been due to misconceptions about pastoralism, competition from other land uses, demographic changes and urbanisation. As such, pastoral communities in Kenya, similar to other parts of the world, are now facing immense pressure on their land.

Against this backdrop, Tegemeo Institute conducted a study that tracked how land tenure in pastoralist communities had changed. In addition, we were able to compare this evolution with what is happening to pastoral communities in other parts of the world with a view of learning from these experience and drawing lessons that will help pastoral communities sustain their productive systems. We have drawn lessons through interaction with experts from Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America. The findings from this work are now ready to be disseminated as we continue to engage in the debate for sustaining pastoralism. It is in the light of this that the Institute is organizing a workshop where key findings from this study will be presented and discussed. The workshop will brought together government bureaucrats, pastoral communities and other stakeholders working with pastoral communities.


Workshop Proceedings

See more out put from the Ella Project 

Tegemeo Hosts Press Conference on the Nations Food Situation and Rising Food Prices, Thursday 25th May 2017

 press conf may 2017

Tegemeo Institute hosted a Press Conference on Thursday 25th May 2017 discussing the food situation and rising commodity prices in the country. The focus was mainly given to maize, sugar and milk and was informed by a recent rapid assessment survey conducted by the Institute.

The Institute's Outreach Communication and Partnerships Coordinator Dr. Miltone Ayieko and other Senior Researchers gave emerging evidence and recommendations from the study that are key to informing and guiding policy related to the agricultural sector.

Journalists from key media houses covered the event.


Downloads from the event

See the press release

See coverage of the event

See video coverage of the event 

Tegemeo at the Inaugural Food Security and Water NMG Leadership Forum, 3rd April 2017

Tegemeo Institute participated in the inaugural Nation Media Group (NMG) Leadership Forum as part of the panelists discussing matters related to development. The forum was launched as a platform bringing together professionals, stakeholders, leaders and Kenyans to discuss issues of national importance.

Tegemeo Institute’s Director, Dr. Mary Mathenge represented the Institute, at the forum which discussed issues of food security and water access to Kenyans. Dr. Mathenge noted that there is need for a serious review of the nation’s agricultural policies and their implementation, drawing from even, the nation’s budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector of 3%. The agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett concurred that the Ag Sector has been underfunded for a long time noting that the private sector can assist to bridge this gap. On matters of food security, the Institute had in late 2016, given indication of an impending drought come year 2017 following a study conducted on the competitiveness of key food staples in Kenya: role of production costs and pricing. Issues of food availability, accessibility, and affordability were identified as key drivers to a food secure nation and at this fora, it was noted that the government’s response to emerging issues in the Ag sector though right often come in late hence the effects of drought and high food prices being experienced.

The NMG Leadership Forum platform seeks to encourage dialogue on key issues affecting the country such as economy, agriculture, health, governance and financial markets.

Effect of Coronavirus on Food Security

 How the Country can Attain Food Security during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Kenya faces one of the most challenging years with regards to food security. Although the country has faced food insecurity incidences in the past, the situation this year has been complicated by the Coronavirus pandemic. The country was already facing several threats to food security. First, the desert locust invasion of biblical proportion that spread quite rapidly between December 2019 and February 2020, was affecting crop and livestock production. Second, above-average rainfall experienced from October 2019 to January 2020 increased the likelihood of losses.

The policy choice for the country is to attain self-sufficiency. However, the country is a net importer of the major staples consumed. Over the past decade, the key food security challenges were mostly about inadequacy. The most severe food security shock was between 2008 and 2009. During that period, the country was recovering from the effects of the post-election violence, when the global food price shock occurred in 2008. This was further complicated by unfavourable weather in 2009. In recent years, shocks were also experienced in 2016 and 2017.

The current food security situation

The country usually attains good performance in years with adequate rainfall as the majority of the producers are smallholders who rely largely on rainfed agriculture. The 2019/2020 season was favourable. Most parts of the country received above-average rainfall during the long- and short rains seasons. A good harvest was forecasted. However, above-normal rainfall was recorded through the harvest period. In the long rains season, it led to the destruction of cropland. The ministry estimates that 10,000 hectares of cropland were destroyed. The post-harvest losses, especially for cereal grains, is expected to be higher, this year, than usual due to inadequate drying of grain. In the past five years, it is estimated that the country loses an average of four million bags of maize post-harvest. In context, this is almost the entire short rains season harvest in a normal year. In addition, vast swarms of desert locust started arriving in the country and affecting the northern frontier counties from December 2019. The desert locust outbreak is complex to predict, and its mobility and feeding behaviour further complicate efforts to control it. It is estimated that swarms spread fast and can cover between 100 and 150 kilometres per day. An average swarm can comprise between 40 and 80 million locusts per square kilometre. Such a swarm can consume green vegetation (crops, pasture, fodder) in the amount that is equivalent to food enough for 35,000 people in one-day. By the end of February 2020, 17 counties had been infested, mostly the ASAL counties. Without the desert locust invasion, livestock farmers in the ASAL counties were likely to improve meat and milk productivity due to abundance of pasture. By March 2020, the FAO categorised the threat in the country as dangerous, due to continued breeding and new swarms formation that represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the long rains season.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected food security?

March 2020 also saw the country record its first case of Coronavirus. By mid-March, measures for self-isolation were announced, which included the closure of schools and encouraging people to work from home. More strict measures commenced towards the end of March, including the closure of produce markets in urban areas and dawn to dusk curfews. The last two were highly disruptive for the food systems. A key challenge now is how we continue to access essential foodstuffs in light of the measures to curb the spread of the disease. Majority of foodstuff, especially the highly perishable ones like fruits and vegetables are transported to urban towns at night when the temperatures are cooler. The closure of major markets in many urban and peri-urban areas, while a reasonable measure to avoid crowding, has disrupted food supply systems especially for fresh produce in urban areas. Also, the initial exclusion of food transporters in the essential services category meant delays were experienced in getting food to destined markets. The ministry of agriculture has already announced that transporters of foodstuff are now included in the essential services category to improve food supply in urban areas.

The disruption has mainly been on the informal food supply chains. These supply chains primarily serve low-income and informal housing estates. Fruits, vegetables and other foodstuff arrive in the designated markets which act as wholesale markets. The small retailers then get their access through these large markets and distribute to small kiosks in the estates. Although innovations such as the model used by Twiga foods have been introduced to try and improve efficiency in these chains, the traditional model which involves many actors remains dominant.

The measures put in place to contain the virus have a huge effect on the supply chains. For example, the reduced economic activity in the hospitality industry has a huge negative effect on food demand. Significant decreases in demand would usually lead to a fall in prices offered to producers. On the other hand, if supply is disrupted and consumers are unable to enjoy place and time utility, prices would rise in an ideal scenario to reflect the shortage. However, these are not ideal or usual times. An expectation is that in addition to the overall reduction in demand, we will observe shifts in demand. For example, where workers ate lunch in a restaurant near their office in the usual case, they will now consume the same from home if they are working from home. Another shift that can be expected is the increase in consumption of dry foods such as cereals and pulses which can be stored over a longer duration. Ideally, the market is expected to adjust itself, but this happens after a period of learning and so it is not instantaneous. Also, market panic will set in when demand and supply are not predictable. Already, there are numerous instances of panic-stricken shoppers buying everything they can afford trying to ensure that they have adequate stocks. To some extent, this can lead to an increase in prices for commodities that now seem ‘scarce’.

What past lessons can lead to sustaining food security

The number of persons infected in the country is expected to continue rising and peak in April or May 2020 depending on the effectiveness of measures taken to curb the spread of the disease. Already, the government has issued travel restrictions to citizens in hotspot areas. All the hotspots are in urban areas. Ensuring the movement of foodstuff and access in markets is not restricted is critical to minimise the adverse effects this can have especially for poor households in urban areas.

A key challenge for policymakers is how to bring order in the informal system. Whereas it’s easy to develop solutions for formal markets such as the institution of quotas, it is very difficult to undertake this in the informal system. For example, in 2017, the government announced a price ceiling for a 2 kg packet of maize flour, however, in the informal estates, consumers paid up to twice the ceiling price due to repacking into smaller quantities.

In the current situation, the government must put all effort into ensuring that there are no artificial demand and supply conditions. This can be done by developing tailored solutions to different market segments. For example, the middle- and higher-income dwellers access fresh produce from supermarkets and grocery shops. Innovations such as online shopping and home deliveries are already taking traction as people try to stay at home. This should be encouraged. Conversely, such solutions would not work for the low-income and informal housing estates, who largely access their foodstuff from the informal market system. This market segment was significantly interrupted in the first few days of the curfew.

The business as usual scenario especially for the informal markets is not practical in the current pandemic. However, if produce markets remain closed, then there is still suboptimal functioning of supply systems. A further measure should be to ensure that markets remain open all days, although at reduced capacities. There is no doubt that overcrowding must be avoided. However, measures must be put in place to ensure that all people can access food. County governments and the ministry of health should work out measures that would facilitate some functionality of produce markets. This could include having different traders on different days, restricting the numbers of people at the market at any given time and ensuring that the safe distancing guidelines are followed. Although this would increase enforcement costs, the benefits in better access and less panic are much higher.

The other key question is on the adequacy of stocks available in the country. Currently, the planting for the long rains season is underway. The ministry has sustained measures already put in place to control desert locusts which now are a threat to the new crop that farmers are establishing. There is also need to ensure that farmers have access to inputs they need for optimal production. The ministry has also announced plans to import about 4 million bags of maize. Earlier planning for any imports is highly commendable, especially taking cognisance that the pandemic has also disrupted global food supply systems. The ministry should step up monitoring of stocks, prices and distribution systems to ensure that the government can step in where the market mechanisms fail.

At the global level, some countries in Eastern Europe have already enforced export bans on essential staples such as wheat. The bans are being put in place with an objective of ensuring food availability in the exporting countries. Learning from the 2008 food crisis, exports ban is counterproductive. A similar measure in 2008 caused panic in food markets resulting in spikes in food prices across the world. Countries such as Kenya will be at a disadvantage if such measures are repeated.

Additionally, there is need to track both producer and consumer prices for food. Food security, especially in the urban areas in more about access and affordability. An economic downturn is expected in the post-pandemic period. Tracking prices ensures that the government is on top of things pertaining to the support that is required for vulnerable populations, both producers and consumers alike. The government must ensure that adequate safety nets will be in place to guarantee food security for households that will be devasted economically. At the same time, the government needs to continue providing support to producers, to the extent that is realistically possible, in order to improve supply and link them to markets for their produce, particularly through e-commerce channels, whose importance is growing.


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