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Kenyan seeks to flower Japan

NAIROBI, October 24 – The Ministry of Agriculture intends to grow the market for Kenyan flowers in Japan by between 30 and 40 percent.

Representatives of the Ministry and the flower industry will be going to Japan next week to explore new markets for the produce.

Agriculture Assistant Minister, Japhet Mbiuki, said the group would at the same time familiarise themselves with the stringent Japanese market requirements.

"We are still controlling almost 19 percent of exports to Japan and our biggest objective is to improve on our current performance. You realize of every stem you find in Japan one out of three originates from Kenya and we want to ensure that more than a third of all the flowers in Japan come from this country," Mr Mbiuki said.

The Assistant Minister noted that despite the current global problems the ministry was not shying away from seeking bigger markets.

He said in the face of the huge potential in the Japanese market as well as the challenge to meet the requirements of the market,it was expected that the delegation will get an opportunity to familiarise itself with the market by visiting the International Flower Expo,the flower Auction and the quarantine inspection unit at the Osaka International Airport.

Speaking at the same function a representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Takahashi Yoshiyuki said in 2006 Kenya exported 11 million roses to Japan valued at Sh318 million, observing that the Japanese market has unique requirements thus the need for players in the local industry to better understand it.

He said with annual gross sales of $10 billion, the Japan flower market is the second largest in the world revealing that imports of cut flowers to the country having increased steadily over the period.

“It is worth noting that there is a huge potential for Kenya’s cut flower in the Japan market. A number of Kenyan flower producers have already penetrated the market in the last few years,” Mr Yoshiyuki said.

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