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Comparison between Horticulture Farming in Kenya and the Netherlands

Horticulture is the practice of growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers for sale


  • Greenhouse technology is applied in the both the countries
  • Similar vegetables and flowers are grown in both the countries
  • Horticultural products are export market oriented in both the countries
  • In both countries there is use of green houses on the horticultural land


  • Horticultural farmers in the Netherlands are highly skilled due to long history while in Kenya the farmers are less skilled due to short history

  • In the Netherlands, there is higher local demand for horticultural products due to higher incomes of the locals/citizens while in Kenya there is lower local demand for horticultural products due to lower incomes of many citizens
  • Netherlands is centrally located in Europe thus has a wider foreign market within easy reach while in Kenya, freight charges limit access to European market
  • In the Netherlands the scale of production is large while in Kenya small scale
  • Netherlands unlike Kenya has well developed means of transport which enhances fast movement of horticultural products.
  • In Netherlands farming is carried out in coastal areas which are free frost while in Kenya its carried out inthe cool and hot areas.
  • Netherlands’s soils are generally sandy while Kenya‟s are volcanic
  • There is biological control of pests in Netherlands unlike in Kenya

  • There is use of more advanced technology in Netherlands than Kenya e.g. use of glass houses
  • Netherlands produces more horticultural produce than Kenya.
  • There is specialisation in Netherlands with certain areas producing certain crops.
  • Netherlands farmers have more access to capital while Kenyan farmers have inadequate capital due to lack of organised marketing systems.
  • Kenya experiences the problem of impassable roads while Netherlands‟s transport system is developed and efficient

Main Features or Characteristics of Horticulture

  • Farms are generally small in size.
  • Farms are located near good transport routes due to produces perishability.
  • Farms are located mostly near urban centres close to the markets.

  • Land is intensely used to get maximum benefits.
  • Advanced scientific techniques of crop production are used e.g. selected seeds, regular spraying, application of manure and fertilizers.
  • Most of the work is done manually.
  • The produce is market oriented (for export or local sale).
  • It‟s capital intensive because a lot of farm inputs are required.
  • It involves quick and expensive modes of transport e.g. aeroplane because the produce is perishable, the mode is the quickest and the produce is in high demand.

Factors Favouring the Development of the horticulture industry in Kenya

  • Fertile volcanic soils which support a variety of crops.
  • Variation of climate from cool to hot with moderate to high rainfall where tropical crops such as pawpaw and pineapple are grown while in cool areas temperate crops such as plums and peers are grown.

  • High demand for products both locally and internationally (in winter when tropical vegetables, fruits and flowers are in high demand.
  • Technical and financial assistance from friendly countries.
  • Availability of capital from large and local overseas companies e.g. Del Monte, Kakuzi, etc.
  • High labour due to high population as it is labour intensive.
  • Accessibility to the market of most growing areas through roads and air transport.
  • Government‟s policy of diversification of export crops with the aim of broadening export base.
  • Well organised marketing systems managed by Horticultural Co-operative Union and Horticultural Development Authority which help farmers to export their produce.

Role of horticulture in the Economies

  • A source of foreign exchange.
  • Saves some foreign exchange.
  • Has led to industrial development by providing raw materials e.g. fruit canning, vegetable oil manufacturing, etc.
  • Provides employment to many due to being labour intensive.
  • It has led to development of infrastructure in the areas with large scale horticultural farms which have been served with better roads, water and electricity.
  • Earns farmers income when they sell their produce to buyers and middlemen.
  • Promotes better health and nutrition.
  • Has led to effective land use e.g. swampy areas in C. Province have been reclaimed for vegetable production.

Problems facing horticulture in Kenya

  • Inadequate capital in part of small scale farmers to buy inputs which lowers yield quality and quantity.
  • Transport problem during rainy season in areas served only by seasonal roads leading to losses.
  • Pests and diseases such as leaf blight which destroy the crops leading to losses.
  • Lack of organised marketing system such as co-operatives causing exploitation by middlemen and inability to access credit and advisory services.
  • High transport costs leading to sale of produce to middlemen who exploit farmers.
  • Exploitation of workers by large horticultural companies leading to unrests e.g. working for long hours with less pay.

horticulture Crops Grown and their Distribution in Kenya

Vegetables: cabbages, kales, carrots, tomatoes, turnips, cassava, sweet potatoes etc.

Fruits: oranges, mangoes, lemons, apples, pears, plums, bananas, paw paws.

Flowers: roses, orchids, gladioli, lilies, carnations etc. grown in Limuru, Naivasha, Murang‟a, Kiambu, Thika, etc.

horticulture Crops Grown and their Distribution in netherlands

Vegetables:lettuces, cucumber, peaches, leaks, asparagus, cauliflower, melons.

Fruits: apples, pears, cherries, gooseberries, redcurrants, raspberries etc.

Flowers:azalea, rhododendrons, tulips, hyacinths, roses and clematis.

horticulture Cultivation in Kenya

Vegetables and fruits are grown in open fields.

Flowers are grown in greenhouses.

Moisture is made available to vegetables and flowers through sprinkling.

Advantages of Green Houses

  • Plants don‟t suffer the effects of excessive rainfall.
  • Plants arent affected by drought.
  • Pest and disease spread are controlled.
  • Uniformity of climate is created for all plants.
  • Plants are protected from the damaging effects of strong winds and airborne diseases.
  • Crops can be grown throughout the year.
  • Its easier to control weeds by chemicals because the area is small.

horticulture cultivation in Netherlands

Horticultural crops are grown in the open and in greenhouses.

Tree fruits are mainly grown outdoors.

There is the use of glasshouses (greenhouses made of glass).

They are connected to boilers and furnaces used to heat to maintain warm temperatures in winter.

There is the use of predators to control pests e.g. flies, spider mites, and ladybirds to avoid degrading the environment.

There is a specialization with different areas growing different crops e.g.

  • Flowers in Aalsmeer near Amsterdam and Lei den in Harlem.
  • Vegetables in the triangular area formed by Hague, Rotterdam and Hook of Holland.
  • Fruits in the interior of Rotterdam in provinces of Guilderland, Limburg and Utrecht.

Uses of Horticultural Crops

Fruits and vegetables are used as food while flowers are for decorating houses, offices, churches, weddings, and funerals.

Marketing of horticultural products in Kenya

  • Small scale farmers transport their produce to the collecting centres to buyers or middle men.
  • It’s checked and graded.
  • Then packed in packaging materials.
  • Then transported to the airports where most of it is airlifted to W. Europe where it may find its way to Japan and USA.

Marketing of horticultural products in Netherlands

  • The produce is transported to go-downs of collecting agents or to the markets.
  • It’s transported via roads, railways, air or through canals and navigable rivers.
  • It’s destined for Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Luxemburg.

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