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Sunday 24 May 2015



As the regulatory agency for the horticultural sub-sector, the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) aspires to be at the forefront in providing efficient, effective and quality service.



Horticultural Crops Development Authority               

Horticultural Crops Development Authority

Impressive growth with effective authority

Established as a state corporation in 1967 under the Agriculture Act, HCDA is mandated to regulate the horticultural industry through licensing and application of rules as prescribed under the Act. HCDA also provides advisory and marketing services to the stakeholders in the industry for planning purposes.


HCDA ranks among the most important agricultural institutions in Kenya. Horticultural exports are among the top foreign exchange earners for the country, while the growing and processing of horticultural crops is a major industry employing more that three million Kenyans directly and indirectly.



The massive growth of the horticultural subsector under the supervision of HCDA is one of Kenya’s most important economic miracles. In 2008, recorded marketed horticultural produce in Kenya was valued at around KSh58 billion, a drop from the KSh67.2 billion in 2007, mainly due to changing climatic patterns. In 2004, Kenya’s total marketed horticultural produce was still worth only KSh32.5 billion.


The figures indicate that the value of the country’s horticultural produce, which includes cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, has almost doubled in just four years. Rapid growth in Kenya’s horticultural subsector began in 1966 with the creation of the Interim Horticultural Development Council. A year later the council was converted by the government into the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA).

Horticultural Farming

Since its establishment, HCDA has never looked back and is now focused on making horticulture the main source of income for Kenya and its people.


Horticultural farming in Kenya began during the early settlements of immigrant races under British colonial rule. Missionaries brought with them some fruit trees and vegetable seeds for growing in their kitchen gardens and so did the early settlers. There was no commercial activity as all the products were consumed at family/group level.



The Asian workers who came in during the building of the Kenya–Uganda Railway between 1893 and 1902 brought with them vegetables and fruits such as (mooli, karela, mangoes, gourds, drumsticks, etc) while the Europeans brought in cabbages, carrots, beetroots, rhubarb, plums, apples, pears, peaches and strawberries.


With the Dutch settlers came citrus, avocados, South African grapes, potatoes, fennel, kales, fenugreek and cape gooseberries, essential oils such as tung, geranium, eucalyptus and cedar. It is noteworthy that indigenous Kenyans hardly participated in the introduction or growing of horticultural crops which were not part of their diets and were inaccessible because trade did not exist.

Smallholder Farmers

After independence in 1963, the government recognised early the need to develop effective marketing systems for the horticultural subsector however, because of the overwhelming demands on the young government to provide both political, social and economic changes, efforts to give priority to horticulture were slow.


Horticulture is a viable solution for Kenya’s need for cash crop diversification, enhanced nutrition, income generation, employment creation and foreign exchange earning in addition to providing raw material for the agro processing industries. The focus of the Authority is mainly on the smallholder farmers who use labour-intensive methods of production.


Horticulture offers high returns for small scale farmers with limited land resources and thus remains at the centre of focus by most government policies including the current Poverty Reduction Strategy Programmes to which it can make substantial contribution. Over the years, HCDA’s functions have evolved with changing government policies and industry demands.


Vision, Mission & Objectives

To be the centre of excellence in providing services in production and marketing of quality horticultural products both locally and internationally.


To promote, develop and facilitate production and marketing of horticultural products that meet customer driven needs at competitive costs through appropriate policies and technologies, and enhance socio-economic sustainability.


To accelerate the rate of horticultural growth and production, the following broad objectives are pursued in the sub sector to facilitate increased production of top quality horticultural produce in order to:


  • Meet the rising demand for more food and nutritious diets for the ever-rising population 
  • Attain food self-sufficiency and security at household, local and national levels 
  • Provide processors with dependable supply of suitable raw materials 
  • Meet the increasing demand for top quality produce in the export market 
  •  To earn foreign exchange by diversifying crops grown in suitable agro-ecological zones 
  •  To generate more employment opportunities within the horticultural subsector by introducing layout intensive enterprises and use of appropriate technology 
  •  To enhance development in arid and semiarid areas through horticultural production under irrigation 
  •  To contribute to generation of income and alleviation of poverty