Kenya horticulture export earnings swell

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Nairobi –   Kenya’s horticultural export earnings surged in the first eight months of this year, the latest economic data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) revealed on Tuesday.

According to the latest KNBS data, in the eight months, exports stood at 104 billion shillings (about 1.01 billion dollars), a huge leap from 766 million dollars recorded in a similar period in 2017.

Flower exports contributed to the bulk of the earnings, standing at 753 million dollars from 105 million tonnes.

This was a 38 per cent growth from the first eight months of 2017 where earnings stood at 545 million dollars.

From vegetables, the exports rose to 165 million dollars from 85 million dollars.

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According to analysts, the horticulture exports have been boosted by political stability following conclusion of 2017 polls.

The country also had reliable rainfall in the March to May season, which boosted production of produce.

The produce, namely cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, is sold mainly in Europe, but Kenya is keen to grow market outside the region.

Recently, during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Kenya signed deals with China expected to open the huge Asian nation’s market to Kenyan growers.

Nzioka Waita, Chief of Staff in President Uhuru Kenyatta office, said Kenya is currently finalising trade agreements with China following discussions carried during the China International Import Expo.

“Kenya will now start to export several agricultural products to the Chinese market, we have already signed phytosanitary agreements, what is remaining are tariff agreements,’’ he said.

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The Kenyan agricultural products that the country would start exporting to China include avocado, French beans, vegetables and fruits, flowers, herbs, peanuts and meat, hides, and skins, bixa, macadamia and gum Arabic.

“Technical teams from China and Kenya will start the process of setting inspection criteria for each product category.

“The Kenya side would be led by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis).

“Every effort will be made to fast-track the process,’’ he said.

Hosea Machuki, the chief executive of Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, however, noted that the Chinese market is one of the promising emerging markets for horticultural produce from Kenya. (Xinhua/NAN)

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