Kenyan horticulture sector sets sights on nine new export markets

Horticulture exporters are seeking new markets in nine countries as the sector aims to reduce its reliance on the European market and raise earnings. Through the National Horticulture Taskforce, exporters are targeting the China, Australia, US, Russia, Canada, UAE, Japan, Malaysia, and Turkey markets.

The task force said it will also seek to increase the use of sea freight to supplement air freight amid logistical challenges and high rates charged by air cargo operators. “We are looking at diversifying because we believe as much as we need to maintain the European market we need to open up new markets,” said Clement Tulezi, CEO of the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) and chairman of the task force.

“We have aligned our plans and identified nine countries where we need to engage and push our export volumes to diversify away from Europe. We are not saying we are leaving Europe. It remains our major market. We want to maintain it and also make inroads into other markets.” The task force includes producers of cut flowers, fruits and vegetables and herbs and spices, trade and agriculture ministries. Horticulture is the third-largest foreign exchange earner after remittance flows and tourism, with the sector selling 70 percent of its produce to Europe, then re-exported to other countries.

The sector however faces challenges in complying with export market regulations, pests control, and logistics. The task force is pushing for bilateral ties with some of those countries to clear trade barriers on pests and phytosanitary issues and border controls.

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