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World bank, 2021
Poverty headcount ratio at $3.65 a day (2017 PPP) (% of population)
Population below international poverty line

Varies per area, age and skill level.

National minimum wage

Equivalent to 30,531 Keynyan shilling per worker per month.
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2023

per month
Rural living wage

Equivalent to 35,518 Keynyan shilling per worker per month.
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2023

per month
Urban living wage
World bank, 2021
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2022
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2023
Systematic violations of rights

Risk to workers' rights


Kenya has a population of roughly 54 million people,[1] with 71% living in rural and 28% living in urban areas.[2] Approximately 33% of the workforce is employed in the agricultural sector.[3] This sector together with forestry and fisheries represent 21.2% of Kenya’s GDP.[4] 

Agriculture plays a vital role in both Kenya’s rural and national economy. It provides the livelihood for a large part of the Kenyan population.[5] For the rural population, the agriculture sector directly accounts for 70% of all jobs.[6]

The top produced crops in Kenya are sugar cane, raw cow milk, maize, tea leaves and potatoes.[7] Kenya’s top exported products in terms of quantity are tea, wheat bran, palm oil, avocados and potatoes.[8]

  1. ^ World Bank. (2022).
  2. ^ World Bank. (2022). 
  3. ^ World Bank. (2021).
  4. ^ World Bank. (2022.)
  5. ^ FAO. (2014). Country Programming Framework for Kenya Food and Agriculture Organization 2014-2017.
  6. ^ Stephen D’Alessandro, Jorge Caballero, Simon Simpkin, and John Lichte. (2015). Kenya Agricultural Risk Assessment. Agriculture global practice technical assistance paper. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group.
  7. ^ FAOSTAT (2021).
  8. ^ FAOSTAT (2021).


Minimum wage

The minimum wage rate in Kenya is set by the government by area, age and skill level. For agricultural workers the minimum wage varies from 7,545 Kenyan shilling (58 EUR) for an unskilled worker to 13,610 Kenyan shilling (104 EUR) for a farm clerk or foreman.[1] Kenya has a dangerous environment for workers. The Ministry of Labour is responsible for enforcement of wage and hour laws, but lack of effective inspection and penalties allows for abuses to occur, from underpaid workers to over hours workerd and compulsory labour, including by children.  Traffickers exploited children through forced labor in agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, among other sectors. Nairobi-based labor recruiters maintained networks in Uganda and Ethiopia that recruited Burundian, Ethiopian, Rwandan, and Ugandan workers through fraudulent offers of employment in Kenya, the Middle East, and Asia[2]

Living wage

Living wages are based on the costs of a decent standard of living for a family in a specific area or region, hence living wages vary from one area to another. To date, the Global Living Wage Coalition has carried out two living wage benchmark studies in Kenya.

The estimated living wage in Lake Naivasha (non-metropolitan urban Kenya) is 35,518 Kenyan shilling (271 EUR) per month[3] while the estimated living wage in Kericho, Mount Kenya (rural Kenya) is 30,531 Kenyan shilling (233 EUR) per month.[4] Despite the differences between living wage estimates, the highest minimum wage in the agricultural sector is still below both estimates. Agricultural workers are the most commonly underpaid workers in Kenya.[5]

Living income

The Living Wage Benchmarks included a Living Income report, estimating the living income in both urban and rural areas of Kenya. For the non-metropolitan area of Lake Naivasha, a living income was estimated at 52,251 Kenyan shilling (399 EUR) per month . For rural Kericho, in Mount Kenya, the value was estimated at 47,541 Kenyan shilling (363 EUR) per month. This is the net income a typical family of 5, with 1.98 and 1.74 workers, respectively, needs monthly to live a decent life in both areas.

  1. ^ WageIndicator Foundation. (2023).
  2. ^ US Department of State, 2022. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kenya.
  3. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2023).
  4. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2023).
  5. ^ CSR Risk Check. (2019)

What's happening


Living Wage Benchmark, Mount Kenya Area

Living wage estimate for floriculture workers to be able to afford a basic but decent liviing in the rural Mount Kenya area.


Living Wage Benchmark, Lake Naivasha Area

Living wage estimate for floriculture workers to be able to afford a basic but decent liviing in the urban area of Lake Naivasha area.


Creating Shared Value in the Rose Supply Chain

The business case for a living wage rose from Naivasha in Kenya to a Dutch florist, by True Price.


Towards a Living Wage

An analysis by True Price on how to close the living wage gap of workers producing roses in Kenya, Ethiopia and Zambia.


Improving Productivity of Smallholder Coffee Farms

A program by the International Finance Corporation to increase productivity, improve coffee quality and farmers’ livelihoods in Kenya.


Kenya Decent Work Programme

The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) main instrument for cooperation to achieve decent and secure working conditions in Kenya.

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