Why do Kenya import pixie oranges, grapes, and apples from Egypt and South Africa while us who produce in plenty do not export or enjoy this market access? This is a question that was raised on our Fruit Farming WhatsApp group by a member. This blog post will discuss the reasons behind South Africa and Egypt’s success in orange farming and marketing and what Kenya can learn from them.

Why Kenya Imports Pixie Oranges From Egypt And South Africa

It is important to note that agriculture is a complex industry with many factors that can influence success, including climate, soil quality, access to resources, government policies, infrastructure, and more. Therefore, it may be difficult to make a direct comparison between countries.

That being said, there are some reasons why South Africa and Egypt may have a comparative advantage in orange farming and marketing compared to Kenya:

Oranges are a significant source of revenue for African countries, and the cultivation of oranges has the potential to create employment opportunities, boost economic growth, and improve food security. Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt are some of the largest orange-producing countries in Africa. However, South Africa and Egypt seem to have a more successful orange farming and marketing strategy as compared to Kenya.

  1. Favorable climatic conditions:

One of the primary reasons behind South Africa and Egypt’s success in orange farming is their favorable climatic conditions. Oranges require a warm climate with a lot of sunlight, and both South Africa and Egypt have the ideal climate for growing oranges. South Africa has a diverse climate, ranging from temperate to subtropical, while Egypt has a hot desert climate that is conducive to growing oranges.

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In contrast, Kenya’s climate can be challenging for agriculture, with frequent droughts and floods affecting crop yields. Again, Kenya’s climate is not as conducive for growing oranges, and this makes it difficult for Kenyan farmers to compete with their counterparts from South Africa and Egypt.

  1. Adequate irrigation systems:

South Africa and Egypt have invested heavily in irrigation systems to ensure that their orange farms are adequately watered. Irrigation is critical in orange farming as oranges require a lot of water to grow and produce fruit. Kenya, on the other hand, has not invested enough in irrigation systems, and this has made it difficult for Kenyan farmers to produce high-quality oranges consistently.

  1. Availability of technology and technical expertise:

South Africa and Egypt have a more advanced technological infrastructure and access to technical expertise in orange farming and marketing. This has enabled their farmers to adopt modern farming practices, improve production, and increase the quality of their oranges. In contrast, Kenya’s orange farming sector lacks the necessary technological infrastructure and expertise, which has hindered the adoption of modern farming practices and ultimately affected the quality of Kenyan oranges.

  1. Access to markets:

South Africa and Egypt have a well-established export market for oranges, which has significantly contributed to their success in orange farming and marketing. They have also invested in establishing trade agreements with other countries, making it easier for their oranges to access international markets. Kenya, on the other hand, has not been able to establish a strong export market for its oranges due to various factors such as inadequate infrastructure, lack of technical expertise, and insufficient trade agreements.

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South Africa and Egypt have established trade relationships with other countries, which can provide access to larger markets for their oranges. South Africa has trade agreements with the European Union and the United States, while Egypt has strong trade relationships with the Middle East and Europe. In contrast, Kenya’s trade relationships are more limited, which can make it difficult to access larger markets.

  1. Government support:

Both South Africa and Egypt have implemented policies to support their agricultural industries, including subsidies, research and development, favourable policies, and trade agreements. This support has helped to create an enabling environment for the growth of their orange farming sectors.

In South Africa, the government has established agricultural research institutions and implemented programs to support small-scale farmers. In Egypt, the government provides subsidies for fertilizers and seeds and has implemented policies to promote exports. In contrast, Kenya’s agricultural sector has often been neglected by the government, with limited investment in research and development and inadequate support for small-scale farmers.

  1. Infrastructure:

South Africa and Egypt have more developed infrastructure than Kenya, which can facilitate the transportation and marketing of oranges. For example, South Africa has a well-developed road network and modern ports, while Egypt has a well-established canal system that allows for efficient transportation of goods. In contrast, Kenya’s infrastructure is often inadequate, with poor road conditions and limited access to ports.


In conclusion, South Africa and Egypt’s success in orange farming and marketing can be attributed to several factors, including favorable climatic conditions, adequate irrigation systems, access to technology and technical expertise, access to markets, and government support.

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Kenya can learn from these countries by investing more in irrigation systems, improving its technological infrastructure and access to technical expertise, establishing a strong export market for its oranges, and providing more support to its orange farming sector. By doing so, Kenya can improve the quality of its oranges, create more employment opportunities, and contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth and development.

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