Interest groups and the price of cereals in Kenya

Date of Completion

January 1999


Economics, Agricultural




This study empirically investigates the political and economic factors influencing post-independence cereals pricing (Maize, wheat and rice) in Kenya. The study applies interest group theories of government and rent seeking as advanced in public choice literature to explain Kenya's cereal price policy formation. The uniqueness of this study stems from the fact, past studies on Kenya agricultural policies have been largely descriptive. This study for the first time deviates from this path testing empirically the influence of interest groups competition on Kenya's post-independence cereal price policy outcomes. ^ The empirical findings demonstrate that interest groups competition is responsible partly for the producer and consumer price policy outcomes in Kenya. The factors that came out explicitly included geographic producer concentration, food deficit or producing cabinet concentration, production subsidies and urban population pressure. The introduction and implementation of Structural Adjustment Programs has played a role in depoliticing the interest groups thus paving way to market based solutions to the cereals price policies. In addition, the economic reform process in the cereal sub-sector was unevenly being implemented largely due to the deep-seated personal stakes of the various groups who are not well prepared for the reforms. ^