Water conservation through trade: the case of Kenya

Mesfin Mekonnen, Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


This study quantifies and maps the water footprint of Kenya from both production and consumption perspectives and estimates the country’s virtual water export and import. Kenya’s virtual water export related to trade in agricultural products was 4.1 km3/y; its virtual water import was 4.0 km3/y. The average export earning per unit of water consumed or polluted in producing agricultural export products was USD 0.25/m3, while the average expenditure on imported commodities per unit of virtual water imported was USD 0.10/m3. In addition to increasing water productivity in crop production, Kenya can mitigate its water scarcity by increasing imports of water-intensive products such as cereals and exports of high-value products such as cut flowers, vegetables, spices and tea
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-468
JournalWater international
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-304543
  • IR-91905


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