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Good news to fresh produce exporters as Air France announces more weekly flights to Kenya

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Asparagus vegetable. France and the UK are the primary markets for fresh vegetable produce from the Kenya. Photo courtesy.

Kenyan fresh produce exporters are set to benefit increased export opportunities following French national carrier, Air France’s announcement that it will launch two additional weekly flights to Kenya’s capital Nairobi from April as part of expansion into African network.

The announcement made on Friday last week which will come to effect 1 April will benefit French and Kenyan companies especially in horticulture, pharmaceuticals and other businesses that depend on air transport.

“We will be increasing our flights on the Paris-Nairobi route to five flights a week and we are confident that we will continue this growth in the coming years,” said Arthur Dieffenthaler, Air France general manager for eastern Africa region.

“We will be increasing our flights on the Paris-Nairobi route to five flights a week and we are confident that we will continue this growth in the coming years,” he added.

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The EU is Kenya’s principal market in horticultural export produce with the UK, Netherlands and France being the main markets with the UK and France being the primary markets for fresh vegetable produce from the country, according to AFA Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD).

In terms of proportions, Kenya exports the larger volumes of its cut flowers to the Netherlands, then the United Kingdom, Germany, and France respectively.

In 2016, the two countries (Kenya and France) signed Sh28.7bn (€250 million) deals covering infrastructure projects to entice French importers to work closely with Kenyan exporters to boost Kenyan exports to France.

“On trade, we were both gratified at the increase in trade between the two countries, but noted the growing gap in favour of France. I proposed that the gap could be addressed in part by Kenya exporting more value-added goods. We also agreed that France should seek to significantly increase imports of Kenya’s renowned quality coffee, tea, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables,” said President Kenyatta during a press conference with President Hollande when he visited the country for bilateral talks in 2016.

The deal was to eliminate hurdles that have prevented Kenyan products, mainly agricultural products, from accessing the French market, adding that it would also help bridge the balance of trade which is currently tilted in France’s favour.

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