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Horticulture export boost places greater pressure on Kenya for EU deal

Flowers from Kenya/FILE

Flowers from Kenya/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – The export value of Kenya’s horticultural produce has gone up by 19 per cent in the nine months ended September according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Cut flowers, which account for 69.2 per cent of horticultural produce, recorded an 18.5 per cent growth in value exported.

According to the Kenya Flower Council, 2016’s earnings are expected to surpass 2015’s earnings on the back of higher prices fetched.

The Council says sales by growers in the Kenya to buyers in places such as Japan, Russia and Dubai now make up 60 per cent of the nation’s exports, compared with only 20 per cent five years ago.

On the other hand, lower oil prices made transport logistics through Nairobi’s main airport cheaper, which helped to boost direct exports.

According to KNBS, vegetables that account for 22.9 per cent of horticultural produce grew 22.7 per cent while fruits that account for 7.9 per cent of horticultural exports recorded a 21.4 per cent shoot in value exported.

Meanwhile, value of tea and coffee exports on the other hand rose 7.5 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.

Horticultural products are Kenya’s key foreign exchange earners with their key market being Europe.

Currently, the deadline to withdraw Kenya’s preferential market access to the EU market was extended to February 2, 2017 as the East African Community (EAC) waits for Tanzania and Burundi to sign the EU-EAC economic partnership agreement (EPA).

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