Principal secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Chris Kiptoo told Reuters that Britain’s exit from the European Union will not disrupt Kenya’s horticulture exports to the country.
Kiptoo made the assertion at a press conference, after industry data showed the African nation’s total horticulture exports jumped 33 percent in 2018.
United Kingdom, Holland, Germany and France account for a bulk of Kenya’s exports. Three bodies revealed that Kenya earned 153.68 billion shillings ($1.53 billion) last year from horticulture exports.
The chief executive officer of the Kenya Flower Council, Clement Tulezi said earnings for the sector are expected to rise by at least 4 percent in 2019. He told Reuters that “we project that in 2019 we should surpass 160 billion (shillings), but that is conservative”, adding that almost half the flower sales were made during Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.
In addition to tourism, cash sent home by Kenyans abroad, coffee and tea exports, fresh produce exports are a key source of hard currency for the East African economy.
A joint statement released by the Kenya Flower Council, the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya and the Fresh Produce Consortium said flowers fetched 113.17 billion shillings last year, compared with 82.25 billion shillings in 2017, while vegetables accounted for 27.69 billion shillings as against 24.06 billion shillings.
The statement also revealed that fruits fetched 12.83 billion shillings as against 9 billion shillings in the previous year.
Farming is the biggest sector in Kenya’s economy, accounting for about 30 percent of annual output and employing more than half of the population, especially in the rural areas.
Kenya’s central bank noted that as a result of a strong performance in the horticulture sector, Kenya’s current account deficit narrowed to 5.1 percent in the 12 months to November 2018, compared to 6.5 percent in November 2017