Horticulture earns Kenya KSh153Bn in 2018

Workers in the grading hall of Harvest Limited Athi River flower farm. They defoliate, size, bunch, and pack the bouquets. Harvest Ltd has been Fairtrade certified since 2011.

Kenya’s earnings from horticulture exports in 2018 rose to KSh153.68 billion representing a 33% increase compared to 2017’s Ksh 115 earnings according to data by the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), and Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya.

According to the data, flower exports contributed KSh113.16 billion up from KSh82.24 billion earned in 2017, representing 37.8%growth while fruits and vegetables earned KSh12.83 billion and KSh27.68 billion in 2018, up from KSh9.0 billion and KSh24.06 billion earned in 2017, respectively.

The cut-flower export still remains the largest earner, contributing 74% of the total fresh produce annual earnings, fruits at 8% and vegetables at 18%.

The Netherlands, UK, France, UAE remains the leading marketplace for Kenyan export, accounting for more than two thirds of all exports.

Hosea Machuki, Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, said, “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 which the sector faced.”

The imposition of 16% VAT on pest control products and VAT return estimated to be KSh3.5bn, has increased the cost of production, resulting in non-competitiveness in the international markets.

“These challenges have compounded the many challenges Kenyan farmers face including numerous taxes, and levies at national and county governments, high energy costs, trade and phytosanitary restrictions in several potential markets, and the recent notice on closure of runway during the valentine peak season,” said Clement Tulezi, Chief Executive Office, Kenya Flower Council.

Principal Secretary, Ministry of Trade Chris Kiptoo said the Kenyan government was working toward expanding the export market for the horticultural products besides the primary European markets.

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“The government is exploring new markets like China to complement the traditional European market. Already a delegation from China will be in the country soon to evaluate the avocado market and we are optimistic soon our farmers will start export to the Chinese market. US market is also key for us, following the commissioning of the direct flight between Kenya and the United States,” Kiptoo said.

Kiptoo also noted that the government was in discussion with the United Kingdom on the issue of Brexit to ensure that the sector is not adversely affected, irrespective of the outcome of the process.

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