Horticulture sub-sector is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country with the cut flower exports earning the country more than Sh80 billion last year.

Sh42.6 billion was earned in the first four months of 2018, a 40.4 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to data issued by the National Bureau of Standards.

Data from Kenya Flower Council place Kenya as the world’s fourth-largest exporter of cut flowers behind the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador, and makes up some 7 per cent of global market share.

Products are exported to 60 countries worldwide; some 59 per cent of domestic production is routed through the Netherlands’ flower auction, accounting for about 35 per cent of all flower sales in EU markets, while other key markets in terms of exports include the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Australia.

Meanwhile, the fertiliser association said it is ready to supply farmers with the produce they need for this year’s long-rain planting season.

Mr Muriuki said the private sector normally imports 100,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser while the government brings in 50,000 metric tonnes of the subsidised product.

He said, “We are ready to fill the government’s gap since it has said it won’t supply farmers this season with subsidised fertiliser. However, all we want is to be assured that it will not go behind our backs and import after we have already brought ours.”

He said if this happens, they will be compelled to sell theirs at half-price, which automatically results to a big loss.

“We can only be able to bring the commodity through the specially permitted system under Article 114 of public procurement which can only be permitted by the National Treasury. There are no short-cuts to these unless one wants to land in jail,” said Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.

He noted that the fertiliser should be at the National Cereal and Produce Board county depots by now because farmers are already preparing their lands for planting.

Agriculture PS Prof Hamadi Boga had last year proposed the introduction of the e-voucher for farmers to root out fraud.

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