- Industry lobby says the country has reached a stable level that could remain stagnant unless other outlets are sought
The possibility of the horticultural industry stagnating in coming years has forced Kenya to start looking for new markets.
According to the Kenya Flower Council chief executive, Ms Jane Ngige, the country’s earnings and production capacity have reached a level of stability and are likely to stay there if Kenya does not scout for new markets.
“We have sort of reached a plateau and we project the sector to stabilise at this level, but there’s aggressive pursuit of new markets to push the sector higher and also to increase our competitiveness,” Ms Ngige told Smart Company.
She said that last year’s production was relatively good despite the eurozone crisis, but both earnings and volumes declined marginally compared to 2011.
According to statistics from the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), Kenya earned Sh89.87 billion from export of flowers, fruits, and vegetables last year, down from Sh91 billion realised in 2011.
Of these, cut flowers accounted for more than half the export revenues at Sh64.9 billion, with rose flowers accounting for Sh39.4 billion of total revenue.
The total capacity of the three produce categories — flowers, fruits, and vegetables — dropped by 4.9 per cent to 205.7 million kilogrammes compared to 216.2 million kilogrammes reported in 2011, but volumes are projected to rise this year due to expected good rainfall.
Industry stakeholders, however, say they are exploring new markets, mostly outside the traditional European zone, where the country also faces stiff competition from other producers.