Kenya's Forestry Contribution to the National Economy and Trade

Posted on :Thursday , 8th July 2021

In Kenya, the forest sector provides more economic benefits than is recorded in the country's national statistics.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicated forestry’s contribution to GDP to be one percent, which, according to the study of the Forestry Society of Kenya did not take into account other important values, including direct values of both timber and non-timber products in the subsistence economy; the value addition of the transformation of unprocessed roundwood harvested from state forests; the value of cultural services supplied to both residents and tourists; and the value of a supplied set of ecosystem services such as high-quality water, erosion control, stabilization of river banks and siltation.

Total wood production in Kenya is expected to rise. Wood and non-wood products derived from different forest types are supplied to various economic sectors. Roundwood, wood fuel, and non-timber forest products are the most common products harvested from various types of forests and manufactured in factories or consumed in households.

Preliminary results have established that the contribution of the forest sector to the economy is at least three times higher than currently reported in official statistics. The sector provides raw materials with a worth of at least Ksh6.9 billion per year, which is not captured in national accounts. Similarly, the charcoal value-chain trade estimated at Ksh12.4 billion is also not accounted for in the national statistics. The value of food is understated by 1.4 percent. The forestry and logging sectors supply roundwood to the manufacturing sector with a value addition of Ksh21.6 billion. As a result, the forestry and timber industry has a multiplier impact of 2.73. The value added by the water industry is Ksh1.2 billion per year.

Forestry is crucial to the lives of millions of people, especially the poorest section of the society who most critically depends on forest resources for their well-being and survival in the absence of other livelihood assets and opportunities. In order for forests to contribute substantially to sustainable growth, countries must pursue sustainable forest management and use an inter-sectoral approach to maximise forest benefits. This will ensure that forest goods and services meet current needs while also ensuring their long-term availability and contribution to long-term development by securing forest resources, maintaining or improving biodiversity and water quality, promoting healthy and vigorous forests to provide protection functions, and promoting alternative livelihoods.


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