Kenya’s horticulture earnings earned the country Sh56.23bn in the first four months of 2018 up from Sh40.57bn in a similar period last year according to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
In this, flower exports recorded a 40.41 per cent increase in sales to Sh42.59n up from Sh30.33n in 2017 while fruits and vegetables earned Sh4.98bn and 9.26bn respectively.
The Horticultural Directorate reports that the industry is the fastest growing sub sector in agriculture in Kenya and has been buoyed by compliance with export market requirements by the European Union, Kenya’s major destination of cut flowers accounting for 38 per cent of the total market share.
Thika pickle Company maker buys tomatoes, onions and garlic across Kenya
Why Kenyan flowers are doing well in the international markets despite the off-peak period
Nyandarua farmers growing popular flowers for export
Magana Flowers Kenya marketing manager Ann Gitari and CEO Nicholas Ambanya during last year’s flower expo in Nairobi.
Earlier this year, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service trained over 65 fruit and vegetable exporters on international market requirements for food safety on exports to the European Union at a time when EU have dictated strict standards for products imported from other countries.
The EU has placed Kenya on the radar as one of the countries with 10 per cent increased Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs), which are the set legal levels of concentration of pesticide residues in or on food.
The trainees were urged to implement systemic food safety practices so as to comply before and during supply with both the local and export market requirements. They are also required to maintain quality, good hygiene and sanitation in the production, storage, processing and packaging of food as hazards such as biological, chemical and physical can be present.
In 2017, export earnings from cut flowers grew by 16.1 per cent to Sh82.2bn and accounted for 71.3 per cent of total earnings from horticulture mainly occasioned by a 19.7 per cent increase in export volumes. Exports values of fruits and vegetables increased by 23.3 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively in 2017.