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Smuts Memorial Fund


PhD student, Centre of Development Studies, Smuts Research Grant recipient

The politics of agricultural property rights: Case study on the distribution of benefits and costs within Kenyan Flower Industry

Kenya is the lead exporter of cut roses to the European Union, and the second biggest provider of foreign exchange in Kenya's agriculture sector. The sub-sector also directly provides jobs for approximately half a million Kenyans. My doctoral research is aimed at providing a historically grounded institutional analysis on the distribution of benefits and costs within Kenya's flower industry. Given that the industry is so highly profitable, I plan to look into the livelihood, environmental and social development impact on local communities in the counties where the industry is agglomerated. Key to this analysis are the history of the narrow patterns of ownership in the sub-sector, the organisation of power structures within the value chain, and the roles of the government, the private sector and small holder farmers.

Impact of funding received

The funding received from the Smuts Memorial Fund will cover my accommodation for three months of field work conducting semi-structured interviews, data collection and ethnographic case studies in Naivasha and various other flower hubs in Kenya in selected small, medium and large scale flower farms. I will also gather data from horticultural government regulatory institutions and agricultural research institutes. Secondly, the grant will also support my stay in Aalsmeer, Netherlands where I will conduct an ethnographic case study of the global flower auction to understand the international demand and marketing dynamics shaping the Kenyan flower industry.