Kenya’s earnings from fresh produce exports in 2017 jumped to 1.15 billion U.S. dollars, an 11 percent increase over 2016 earnings, the industry association said on Thursday.
Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) Chairman Sylvester Maina told journalists in Nairobi that the sector remained resilient amid political and economic uncertainties of 2017.
“We laud the resilience of the fresh produce sector in the eye of the political and economic storm witnessed in 2017 and we are happy with the performance. This is the similar resilience that enabled the sector to weather the Brexit shock, pointing to the greater potential of the sector,” Maina said.
The data released by FPC Kenya shows flower exports contributed 822 million dollars, up from 708 million dollars earned in 2016, representing a 11.6 percent growth, on export volume of 159,961 tonnes.
Maina said that fruits and vegetables earned Kenya 90 million dollars and 240 million dollars, on export volumes of 56,945 tones and 87,240 tonnes, respectively.
The cut-flower export still remains the largest earner, contributing over 70 percent of the total fresh produce annual earnings.
Maina was speaking at the official launch of FPC Kenya, which was rebranded from Kenya Association of Fruits and Vegetable Exporters.
“The rebranding now broadens our mandate to cover more areas particularly domestic market which has never been well coordinated, offers us capacity to engage with more stakeholders, and enables us to extend our membership and grow the sector,” he said.
In 2017, the fresh produce sector earned 3.05 billion dollars from both domestic and export revenue.Maina said that the vast amount of produce is consumed locally, with less than ten percent of volume being sold overseas.According to the lobby, the fresh produce sector has faced several challenges including lack of traceability systems for the fresh produce, high cost of production, lack of extension services, poor information flow, middlemen menace, insufficient cooling facilities, weak compliance to food safety requirements, and taxation issues.
Maina noted that approximately 80 percent of all fresh produce exports are sourced from small scale farmers.