Best businesses to start in rural areas in Kenya

The rural parts of Kenya have a lot of potential. With the population growing at an unprecedented rate, and more people moving to rural areas, there is a high demand for everything from housing to education.

This article will help you decide on what business to start in order to capitalize on this opportunity!

The first step to starting a business in rural Kenya is identifying the type of product or service you want to provide. If it’s something that can be made with little capital investment, and doesn’t need distribution networks, then this might be the right fit for you!

If you’re considering whether this type of venture is worth your time, it’s important to consider some of these points:

  • Rural areas need everything from housing to schools.
  • The need for infrastructure is enormous, and it’s growing by the day as people move into these areas.
  • There are opportunities to create jobs in rural places that don’t exist elsewhere because of factors like lack of access to electricity or proper roads connecting villages together.

Businesses to start in rural areas in Kenya

There are a number of different businesses that can be started in rural areas. Below are some of them;

Food processing

This is an ideal option because there are many farmers who can’t afford to process their crops, because of lack of infrastructure.

This is a good opportunity as farmers are usually looking for processing plants who can buy their crops.

For example, if you hail from Eldoret or Kitale which are known to be maize growing regions , you can establish a maize milling processing plant .You will be able to purchase the maize at a cheaper price from the farmers around the region and consequently offer a better price to the farmers for their crops.This will be a win- win situation to both parties.

The owner of this type of company can market and brand their products so that they sell well in the local market.


This business is profitable as farmers usually have excess animals that they are not able to sell.

Due to excess supply of livestock you can buy the animals at low prices and then process the meat to produce canned products which can be sold in supermarkets.

This could be an idea for those who cannot afford other types of businesses which require a lot of funding capital.

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The process is simple: one has to slaughter the animal, cut up its carcass into different parts and then put it through a canning machine. The next step would be getting labels from any print shop and printing them on cans in bulk quantities so as to avoid repetition of work .

Rearing Animals

If one knows how to look after animals, this is a great business for rural areas.

For example,you can buy a calf when it is small and feed it till maturity.Once it has become a bull or a cow you can sell it.

A breeder of a bull or a cow would need a small farm to rear the animal and have at least one hired worker who has experience in handling animals .The farmer can also breed sheep which are sold for slaughter after they become full grown adults,or be sheared and their wool is collected.

In this profession you have to be patient and ensure that the animals are well fed, given a good shelter and caged in such a way that they cannot breed.


Since the government banned harvesting of trees for timber in forests, the demand for timber has gone through the roof.

You can start planting trees with the aim of selling them in the future to potential buyers.

People need wood to build and construct things like houses, furniture and other household items. Some people also use it as firewood so they can cook food or heat their homes during the cold season.

If you want to start a business in forestry, this is one good option. You will need land that has been sufficiently cleared and then planted with a variety of trees: including oak, eucalyptus, chestnut, cypress and hemlock.

Agricultural co-operative

Another great business you can start in rural areas is opening up an agricultural cooperative for farmers to join so that they can get access to resources needed in their farming such as seeds, fertilizers, water pumps or irrigation systems.

Here are some things you need to consider if opt to open an agricultural cooperative:

  • What type of crops do the farmers grow?
  • Who is your target market and what products will they be looking for?
  • How many members can the co-op have before it starts becoming unmanageable or breaking down in terms of resources?
  • How will you get the members of your co-op to pay for their membership or products, considering that in rural areas they may not have much money?
  • What qualifications do you need for opening up an agricultural cooperative?
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It’s important that whoever is running it has a good knowledge and understanding on the type of crops that are grown in the area, how to run a cooperative and what qualifications are needed to make it successful.

Formula feed production

In rural areas, ingredients for making feeds are readily available hence the production of formulas is less risky and more profitable.

For example, you can formulate feeds for poultry using molasses, commercial corn milling by-products and fish meal.

The formula can also be made using cassava flour instead of corn to provide a better cost ratio for the farmers.

Since production costs are low,you can sell the feeds at a fair price. This will result to you making a fortune as commercial feeds are very expensive in urban areas.

Production of saleable items from bamboo

Bamboo is very common in Kenya, and it can be used to produce a wide variety of saleable items such as baskets,rollers or mats.

This can be done by using a machine that chops the bamboo up into small pieces, then binds them together to form any of these different objects.

They can also be made by hand with little or no additional cost as they are not difficult to make and don’t require many tools.

Create a small agribusinesses

You can start farming in small plots of land with the use of simple tools and machinery.

Many people in rural areas grow vegetables such as capsicums and cucumbers, fruit trees or raise livestock on their own farms as a way of generating income.

You can also do commercial farming for crops such as french beans ,maize, beans and cotton.

Small-scale entrepreneurs can generate a lot of income from what they produce, especially if the farm is located in an area with high demand for their product. These agribusinesses also help to reduce poverty levels where people rely on them as one way of making a living.

Fish Farming

You can do fish farming for human consumption.Though similar to raising livestock, there is a significant initial investment in this kind of enterprise but you can earn an income from it that pays off over time as long as people buy what you produce .

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To do fish farming, establish a fish pond , set up a market and make sure that you have the right fish species.Tilapia and Nile perch are the most popular fish species you can raise for human consumption.

Poultry farming

If you have enough space ,then poultry is also an option with the aim of selling poultry products like eggs and chicken meat.

Kienyeji chicken also known as free range chicken do well in the rural areas as they are often fed with natural resources.This reduces the cost of production and makes it easy and cheap to feed them.

Poultry farms are also well suited for farmers living in rural areas because they need less space than other livestock animals and can produce eggs as well as meat, unlike pigs or cows.

Charcoal Production

If you know how to make charcoal, this can be a great source of income.Charcoal is a commodity that is always in demand.

To produce charcoal you will need access to trees ,a kiln and some equipment like an axe and firewood.

There are many rural areas in Kenya where it is possible to harvest wood for the production of charcoal or you can carry out tree planting activities that can provide raw materials for charcoal production.

Milk Production

You can keep cows or goats for the purpose of milk production.

This activity is best suited for people who are willing to take on the responsibility of caring for these animals.

Goats and cows require continuous care in order to produce milk, including feeding them with hay or grasses as well as giving them water when necessary.

You can sell the milk to processing firms such as Brookside where you can earn up to Kshs. 42 per litre.


You should always do your research before investing in any business, but here are some ideas to get you started. 

If you’re more interested in quick returns on investment with less risk then agriculture might be right up your alley. It’s hard to go wrong with livestock as well; cows can produce milk every day while chickens will lay an egg almost every other day!

Finally, if none of the above businesses appeal to you then let us know .

We’re always looking for new ideas!

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