Main Article Content
Energy; horticultural; ISO; MSMEs; resources; water; sustainability
The horticultural industry in Kenya is a key income earner with intensive utilization of natural resources in water, energy, and production of enormous quantities of agricultural wastes that negatively affect the environment. Despite the increased horticultural production and processing, the current practices in sustainable horticultural processing by the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) concerning efficient use of resources and potential impact on the environment are yet to be established. This study involved a baseline survey in establishing the practices and trends in horticultural processing by MSMEs in Kenya. The digital Open data kit (ODK) platform was used to collect descriptive data from processors (n=122) across 19 counties of Kenya. Results indicated that most of the processors (57.8%) were small-scale enterprises while the micro and medium enterprises were 26.5% and 15.7%, respectively. The processed products include dried fruits and vegetables (64.7%) and frozen products (11.8%). To ensure efficient marketing, processors give out free samples (78.4%) regardless of the processor capacity (c2= 6.17, p=0.046), carry out product delivery (60.8%), and offer products on credit to clients (21.6%). There was no association between the type of enterprise and standard certifications (c2= 5.6, p=0.061), with most (59.8%) of the organizations lacking local and international certifications. Only 39.4% had certifications from the Kenya Bureau of Standards, although a weak correlation (r=0.225, p=0.023) between the certified firms and auditing was reported. Over 55% of the respondents did not know of ISO 14001 environmental management standards. Awareness of sustainable consumption and production was deficient, and only 24.5% agreed that there is strictness in the implementation of environmental legal requirements and regulations. In conclusion, the survey shows that environmental awareness scored poorly (29.5%) and, therefore, a need to conduct training on the importance of environmental sustainability during processing.