Are International Market Demands Compatible with Serving Domestic Social Needs? Challenges in Strengthening Innovation Capacity in Kenya’s Horticulture Industry

Mirjam Steglich, Ekin Keskin, Andy Hall & Jeroen Dijkman


Agrifood stakeholders across the world are under ever-increasing pressure with globalization and new market demands — together with changing quality and safety requirements. The ability to respond to new challenges and opportunities is important not just for producers but also for industries in developing countries. This paper explores the horticulture sector of Kenya in order to gain a better understanding of what has most significantly contributed to its success in terms of innovation response capacity. This paper aims to present what “innovation response capacity” entails, especially for natural resource-based industries in a developing country context. It will also provide an analytical framework that draws elements from agricultural innovation capacity and the innovation systems framework. This is provided through case study research conducted in Kenya by exploring a prominent horticultural enterprise, Homegrown Ltd. The paper concludes that an important element of success in this case was the formation of a range of linkages that enabled a systemic sector response to challenges rather than isolated action of individual players.

Key Words: Innovation Response Capacity, Kenya, Horticulture, Globalization, Smallholder Production, Policy

Journal Codes: N57, 013, 031, Q13

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872