Kenya is in many ways the ‘poster child’ for Africa’s new Green Revolution, with numerous public‐private partnerships promoting agricultural innovation and rural entrepreneurship through a growing network of agro‐dealers.
Despite numerous claims that the agro‐dealer model offers the best approach for delivering new seeds and other modern technologies to the country’s small producers, this article highlights how reality on the ground has yet to match expectations. Drawing on surveys of agro‐dealers in two contrasting agricultural districts and interviews with key informants, it shows how, despite considerable investment by a range of public and private actors, agro‐dealers remain spread unevenly across the country and are inevitably concentrated in the higher potential agricultural areas. The changing structure of the Kenyan seed industry and the entry of large multinational and philanthropic players – who are focusing mainly on delivery of hybrid maize and fertilisers – are shifting this dynamic further. This approach is acting to narrow the choice of seeds and crop types to farmers in all areas.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 42.4 (2011) Can Agro‐dealers Deliver the Green Revolution in Kenya?