The Star (Nairobi)

2 July 2014

Kenya: Agriculture, Tourism Drag Down GDP Growth in Quarter

Poor performance in agriculture and tourism sectors in the first three months of the year has dragged down the country's Gross Domestic Product expansion, first quarter data showed.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said GDP expanded at a much slower pace of 4.1 per cent in the first quarter compared to 5.2 per cent in a similar period last year.

KNBS said agriculture and forestry, fishing and restaurants sectors posted contracted growth over the period owing to erratic weather, reduced demand in export markets and insecurity concerns.

"The deceleration in growth of the hotel industry was largely due to insecurity concerns coupled with negative travel advisories by some key tourist source countries," KNBS said on Monday.

The transport sector, whose performance is directly linked to tourism, recorded an increase in visitor arrivals via the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi International Airports to 91,602 in March from 68,604 in February.

The increase in arrivals had a direct link to the three per cent growth in hotels and restaurants, which had declined by 12.8 per cent during the first quarter of 2013.

Erratic weather patterns resulted in depressed agricultural output particularly for cereals, while cut flowers and vegetable exports declined in the period.

Agriculture and forestry expanded by 2.7 per cent between January and March, significantly slower compared to a 6.8 per cent growth in a similar period last year.

"The slowed growth was largely attributed to erratic weather and suppressed external demand during the review period," KNBS said.

Three major cash crops, tea, coffee and sugar recorded mixed trade performance over the period.

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