Government plans on local edible oils production

By Kimuri Mwangi

The rising price of edible oils in Kenya has been a major concern leading to a call by the citizens to the government to intervene.

Kenya largely imports vegetable oil and Crude Palm Oil from Malaysia and Indonesia. Edible oils, palm oil primarily, is the country’s second largest import after petroleum. The country spends Kshs. 60 B a year ($600m) before the recent price surge, which pushed the import bill to over Kshs.130 B ($1 billion).

The government responded by drawing a plan to tackle the problem by also including a local intervention. It has targeted sunflower, palm oil, soya and canola production among others as one of the ways of increasing the production and processing capacity of edible oils from the present 5% to over 50% in five years.

It plans to increase the area under edible oil production from 60,000 Ha to over 250,000 Ha in 5 years with a target to increase production output to 1 million MT.

Speaking in Mfangano Island Homa Bay County on 7th October 2023, President William Ruto challenged Homa Bay residents to venture into palm oil, sunflower and soya production to ensure the country reduces overreliance on edible oil imports.

The President said that they had discussed with Nyanza region governors and agreed to have the region boost the country in the production of edible oil. He added that this would ensure that the money that the government uses for edible oil imports will be channeled to local farmers.


Working with counties the government identified Sunflower as a key raw material to be produced by farmers especially women f and youth. The plant was to ensure planting the crop immediately after maize harvest as a second crop.

Sunflower in a farm Photo by Kimuri Mwangi

This year, the target was 200,000 acres in 24 counties as below

 County AcreageSeeds Quantities (Kgs)Seeds ValueFertilizer requirements (Bags)
1BUNGOMA COUNTY17,04042,60019,340,40017,040
2NAKURU COUNTY12,78031,95014,505,30012,780
3NANDI COUNTY14,91037,27516,922,85014,910
4UASIN GISHU21,30053,25024,175,50021,300
5KAKAMEGA COUNTY14,91037,27516,922,85014,910
6NAROK COUNTY10,65026,62512,087,75010,650
7BUSIA COUNTY8,52021,3009,670,2008,520
8MARSABIT COUNTY4,26010,6504,835,1004,260
9KITUI COUNTY5,39213,4816,120,3805,392
10BARINGO COUNTY5,39213,4816,120,3805,392
11KILIFI COUNTY6,39015,9757,252,6506,390
12MERU COUNTY8,52021,3009,670,2008,520
13LAMU COUNTY8,52021,3009,670,2008,520
14MAKUENI COUNTY6,39015,9757,252,6506,390
15EMBU COUNTY4,26010,6504,835,1004,260
16ISIOLO COUNTY4,26010,6504,835,1004,260
17TAITA TAVETA COUNTY5,32513,3136,043,8755,325
18KWALE COUNTY5,39213,4816,120,3805,392

The national government through AFA is supporting counties procure 600 MT of seeds worth Kshs.272.4 million. The farmers will also be supported to access 182,022 bags of subsidized fertilizer worth Kshs.455 million.

The projections from the above interventions is getting

  • 40 million litres of cooking oil with an estimated value of Kshs. 8 billion
  •  100,000 MT of seedcake with an estimated value Kshs. 2billion.
  • The government will then support MSMEs to establish cottage industries specifically in access to affordable finance for procuring oil presses and packaging materials.
  • This will enable farmers earn Kshs. 10 billion and rejuvenating the rural economies through direct and indirect employment.


The government is also targeting to grow 60,000 acres of canola in wheat growing counties of Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Laikipia, Meru and Narok. In the short rains of October – December the target was 25,000 acres in Narok where Agventures as the off takers had identified farmers to contract them for production. The government through AFA was to provide 25 tons of seed worth Kshs. 35 million which are available in the country.

A canola farm

The target is to produce 1 MT per acre, which converts to 400 Kgs of oil valued at Kshs. 150 per kg. The farmers earns Kshs. 60,000 per acre. The Canola cake per acre is 600 Kgs which is sold at Kshs. 65 per Kg, earning the farmer Kshs. 39,000 per acre.  So, the 25,000-acre production for the season was expected to earn the farmers Kshs. 2.47B

Extension Services

Through the funding from the World Bank under the National agricultural value Chain Development Project (NAVDP) the government plans to bring onboard 10 extension staff per ward linked to the ward cooperative. 

These staff will be recruited by the county agricultural departments and are expected to help improve farm productivity and eventually onboarded to the ward cooperatives. Their key roles are extension support to farmers, data collection and availing market information to the farmers and the market through the ward multi-value chain cooperatives.

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