Last updated: March 2019
  • Region Eastern and Southern Africa
  • UPOV membership status UPOV member
  • Participation in OECD Seed Schemes Yes
  • ISTA accredited member laboratories Yes
  • GM crop approval for cultivation No
  • Law on Plant Variety Protection Seeds and Plant Varieties Act (Cap 326); 2016
Seed sector in Kenya

The agriculture sector employs more than 40% of Kenya’s total population and more than 70% of its rural people. The sector accounts for 65% of export earnings and provides livelihoods for more than 80% of the population. With a growing populace, the sector remains vital to food and nutrition security in the country.

Kenya’s seed industry is guided by its National Seed Policy and associated laws. The National Seed Policy aims to develop, promote and regulate a modern and competitive seed industry. The principal law guiding the seed industry is the Seeds and Plant Varieties Act (Cap 326) from 2016. This law comprehensively addresses all legislative issues relating to seeds and plant varieties and seeks harmonization with other related acts and international agreements where Kenya is a signatory. Some recent amendments of the act and the implementing regulations have been undertaken to authorize specified seed certification activities on behalf of the regulator. They also provide governance for forestry seeds and other species, including domestication of wild plants, as well as the establishment of a Plant Genetic Resources Centre. The seed industry in Kenya is regulated by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, which is the national designated authority on seeds. There is a seed traders association, with membership from both the private and the public sector.


There are 26 index companies in Kenya, with three headquartered in the country (East African Seed, Kenya Highland Seed and Kenya Seed Company). Kenya Seed Company, East African Seed and vegetable company Pop Vriend Seeds all have activities spanning the entire seed value chain. However, only Kenya Seed Company and East African Seed are active in field and vegetable crops as well as local crops, such as amaranthus and crotolaria. Kenya Highland Seed does not have a breeding program but does produce, test and process seed in Kenya, and also carries out extension services for smallholder farmers. Seed Co, founded in Zimbabwe and now headquartered in South Africa, has a longstanding presence in Kenya and also carries out all activities along the seed value chain.

Other companies are also investing significant resources toward seed activities. Globally active Advanta has a breeding location, while nine companies carry out seed production, three of which engage smallholder farmers in the process. Twelve companies test their products in Kenya, six process seeds and nine provide extension services, supporting the conclusion that seed companies tend to concentrate activities in established locations. Only six of the 26 companies have purely sales activities in Kenya.

The presence of four South and Southeast Asian companies is notable, with Charoen Pokphand (Thailand), Known-You Seed (Taiwan), Nongwoo Bio (Republic of Korea) and Nuziveedu Seeds (India) demonstrating the growing trend of South-South seed company expansions. Known-You Seed and Nuziveedu Seeds both test and sell their products in Kenya.

The majority of companies interact with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, an accredited International Seed Testing Association, while Kenya is also one of the few countries in the region to be a member of the UPOV and to participate in the OECD Seed Schemes.

Index company activities identified in Kenya
Company Crops in portfolio Company activities in country
Companies selected for
the Access to Seeds Index
Vegetables Breeding
Sales Extension
Charoen Pokphand
Corteva Agriscience  *
East African Seed  **  *
East-West Seed
Enza Zaden
Kenya Highland Seed  **
Kenya Seed Company  **
Known-You Seed
Namdhari Seeds
Nongwoo Bio
Nuziveedu Seeds
Pop Vriend Seeds
Rijk Zwaan
Seed Co  *
Starke Ayres
  • * Company involves smallholder farmers in seed production activities
  • ** Company headquartered in Kenya

Other index companies are also active in the country. However, country-specific information for these companies is not available or was provided under a non-disclosure agreement.

Other companies identified in the regional landscaping study and their activities

Company Crops in portfolio Company activities in country
Western Seed Company