Characteristics of cottage industries

Cottage Industries are Industries involved in making products, particularly in homes using hands and simple tools.

The following are Characteristics of cottage industries

  • Locally available materials are used.
  • Capital infested is small.
  • Most of the products are sold to the local market, but few are exported.
  • Skills are acquired informally.
  • Use of hands and simple and sometimes advanced tools.

  • Usually, involve art or skill possessed by a person to produce items that are in demand in the neighbourhood.
  • its labour intensive.
  • Very few items are made because the market for items is usually small.


Decentralization of industries in Kenya refers to the deliberate effort to distribute industrial activities and development beyond major urban centers like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. This strategy aims to achieve a more balanced and equitable economic growth across different regions of the country.

The following are the Problems hindering the decentralization of industries in Kenya.

1. Interdependence of Industries

A significant challenge hindering the decentralization of industries in Kenya is the complex interdependence that exists between various sectors. Many industries rely on each other’s products, services, or resources to function efficiently. This interdependence creates a web of dependencies that makes it difficult to separate these industries geographically. For instance, a food processing industry might depend on the agricultural sector for its raw materials. If the agricultural sector is located in a particular region, it becomes challenging to relocate the processing industry without disrupting the supply chain. Such interconnections can hinder the practicality of decentralization efforts as industries strive to maintain proximity for streamlined operations.

2. Inadequate Rural Market

The inadequate market infrastructure in rural areas poses a significant obstacle to the decentralization of industries. Investors are often reluctant to establish industries away from urban centers due to the limited consumer base in rural regions. The absence of well-established distribution networks, limited purchasing power, and challenges in accessing rural areas further discourage investments. This imbalance in market potential perpetuates the concentration of industries in urban areas, exacerbating regional disparities in economic development.

3. Insecurity and Investment Disincentives

Insecurity in certain areas of Kenya presents a substantial deterrent to investment and industrial decentralization. Political instability, crime rates, and conflict can discourage investors from venturing into regions where safety and security concerns are prevalent. Industries require a stable environment to thrive, and the uncertainty associated with security challenges can lead to delays in decision-making and reluctance to invest resources. The perception of risk associated with insecurity can significantly hinder efforts to establish industries in affected areas.

4. Industry Collapse and Investment Aversion

The collapse of industries in rural areas creates a discouraging precedent for potential investors. When industries fail in specific regions due to factors such as economic downturns, lack of market demand, or insufficient infrastructure, it creates a perception of instability and unreliability. As a result, investors become wary of committing resources to similar industries in the same area. This phenomenon perpetuates a cycle of disinvestment and reluctance to engage in industrial activities, further hindering the decentralization of industries.

5. Poor Infrastructure and Private Investors

The inadequacy of essential infrastructure, such as roads, power supply, and transportation networks, poses a significant challenge to private investors considering the establishment of industries in decentralized locations. Poor infrastructure increases production costs, hampers supply chain efficiency, and reduces overall competitiveness. Private investors, particularly those seeking efficiency and cost-effectiveness, are discouraged by the prospect of dealing with inadequate infrastructure. The lack of reliable infrastructure limits the attractiveness of potential industrial sites and restricts the viability of decentralization efforts.

In summary, the decentralization of industries in Kenya faces multifaceted challenges, including intricate interdependencies among sectors, inadequate rural markets, insecurity, the aftermath of industry collapses, and poor infrastructure. Addressing these obstacles requires a comprehensive approach that involves improving infrastructure, enhancing security, promoting rural market development, and fostering a conducive environment for investment. Such efforts are essential for achieving a more balanced and equitable industrial distribution across the country.