The globalization of the agro-industrial food chain in Kenya can be traced back to the restructuring of the international division of labor. The current global agro-food industrial system entails aspects of a complex international division of labor, whereby the South specializes in high-value “non-traditional” exports, while the North concentrates on low-value cereal exports. In their contribution towards global change the relationships between agriculture and industry, and urban and rural areas are inextricably linked. The dynamics of these linkages form a crucial part of this process of globalization. This article examines the impact of the globalization of the vegetable commodity chain on the rural economy in Kenya. This has led to the establishment of multinationally-owned vegetable canning firms in Kenya which are geared towards the international markets, which in turn link up the rural economy in Kenya, with other global players through contract farming, and the manufacturing production chains. The implications of these processes on the rural economy, include environmental degradation, food insecurity, and aggravation of income inequalities among the Kenyan producers.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1