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Kenyan flower sector remains steady despite high competition in export market from Ethiopia’s

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Mugo Flower Farm. Photo courtesy.

Despite Kenya being the biggest exporter of flowers from the continent, Ethiopia is emerging one of the worthy competitors in the recent past since the sector contributes 80 per cent to the country’s national GDP as compared to 1.1 per cent the sector contributes to the Kenya’s national GDP.

According to Clement Tulezi, the Chief Executive Office, Kenya Flower Council (KFC), though Kenya still stands top in production and exporting of flowers in the continent, Ethiopia is currently producing much volumes of flowers to the export markets.

“We are still unbeatable in the export markets but we still have a lot to do in terms of marketing the fresh produce and easing its transport to various global markets in order to remain top,” said Tulezi.

KFC aims at promoting economic, social and political interests of the floriculture industry through active participation in the determination and implementation of policies governing sustainable development of the sector.

“Today, we enjoy 38-40 per cent market share in Europe though we cannot sell surpass 45 per cent and that is why there is still need for more markets for the flowers.”

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Export earnings from cut flowers grew by 37.7 per cent to KSh 113.2 billion and accounted for 73.6 per cent of total fresh horticulture exports earnings in 2018, according to 2019 Economic Survey by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Currently, Kenya has 110 varieties of flowers farmed in Kenya and exported to over 60 destinations globally, the most popular roses at 85.6 per cent, carnations at 2.5 per cent and alstroemeria at 0.73 per cent.

“We have over 200 flower farms in Kenya and other numerous smallholders engaged in the production in smaller quantities spread around the country,” said Tulezi.

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To ensure the future bloom of the Kenyan flower industry, the sector is already aligning its operations to link its competitiveness to environmental sustainability practices and social standards established in the European markets and other regions globally, as defined by 3Ps – People, Planet and Profit – meeting the current needs in the sector without interfering with the future needs.

How the industry best manages these resources (3Ps) will greatly determine how it will compete with other markets to achieve organizational growth and success.

Kenya’s flower export earnings stood at $750.7 million representing 8 per cent while Ethiopia’s stood at $212 million representing 2.3 per cent in 2018, according to Flower Bouquet Exports ratings.

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