Kenya’s earnings from fresh produce exports in 2018 jumped to Kshs. 153.68 billion, a 33 per cent increase over the 2017 earnings. This is according to statistics released by the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) and Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK).
Unveiling the statistics, Mr. Hosea Machuki, chief executive officer, FPEAK said the sector has remained resilient amid fiscal and operational challenges. “The sector has seen marked resilience and continued growth and huge potential which has enabled it weather various challenges such as the Brexit shock and fertilizer shortages,” he emphasized.
Flower exports contributed Kshs. 113.16 billion up from Kshs. 82.24 billion earned in 2017, representing 37.8 per cent growth.
Fruits and vegetables earned Kshs. 12.83 billion and Kshs. 27.68 billion in 2018, up from Kshs. 9.0 billion and Kshs. 24.06 billion earned in 2017, respectively.
The cut-flower export still remains the largest earner, contributing 74 per cent of the total fresh produce annual earnings, fruits at 8% and vegetables at 18%.
In 2018, the horticulture sector was hit hard by an acute shortage of soluble fertilizer resulting from a stringent and lengthy clearance process by the Kenya Bureau of Standards at the port of entry. It was also adversely affected by the imposition of 16% VAT on pest control products and VAT return estimated to be Kshs. 3.5 billion, increasing the cost of production and resulting in non-competitiveness in the international markets.
“This has compounded the many challenges Kenyan farmers face including numerous taxes and levies by the national and county governments, high energy costs, trade and phytosanitary restrictions in several potential markets, and the recent notice on closure of run-way during the Valentine peak season,” said Clement Tulezi, chief executive officer, KFC.
Speaking at the same event, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Trade Dr. Chris Kiptoo said the government was working towards expanding the export market for the horticultural products besides the primary European markets.
“The government is exploring new markets like china to complement the traditional European market. A delegation from China will be in the country soon to evaluate the avocado market and we are optimistic that soon our farmers will start exporting to the Chinese market. The US market is also key for us, following the commissioning of the direct flight between Kenya and the United States,” Dr. Kiptoo emphasized.
Dr. Kiptoo also noted that the Government was in discussion with the United Kingdon on the issue of Brexit to ensure that the sector is not adversely affected, irrespective of the outcome of the process.
About Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya)
Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) is the industry’s leading trade association committed to driving the growth and success of produce companies and their partners. FPC Kenya represents the interests of member companies (including family-owned, private and publicly traded businesses as well as local, regional and international companies) throughout the fresh produce supply chain.
The association was founded in 2013 as then Kenya Association of Fruits and Vegetable Exporters (KEFE) to represent the produce industry, and recently took the name Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya in response to the need to address challenges faced by players in the domestic market space. FPC Kenya will continue the mission of promoting the growth and success of produce companies and their partners, with greater focus on the domestic market.
Kenya Flower Council
The Council being the nerve center of flower growers in Kenya is robustly in the forefront lobbying policy and decision makers at national and county levels, to adequately support the growth of the industry and to enact appropriate legislation conducive for flower production and export. It also supports efforts in the development of trade between Kenya and the different markets across the globe. This is in bid to create a conducive business environment and promote global competitiveness of Kenyan flowers.
To build a strong Kenyan flower brand at the market place, Kenya Flower Council continuously engages in promotional events locally and internationally, with support of Kenya’s foreign missions and relevant government ministries and departments. This leverage the brand, heritage and reputation established for the Kenya flower.