Horticulture exports fall 10pc on China restrictions – Business Daily
A worker at a flower firm in Naivasha. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Horticultural exports declined 10.7 percent in the year to July, blamed on limited access to the Chinese market by avocado farmers due to stringent entry conditions.
Data made available by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows horticulture exports declined from $1.13 billion (Sh135.6 billion) in the 12 months to July 2021 to $1 billion (Sh120 billion) this year, contrasting with tea and coffee exports whose value rose in the period.
Exporters had been waiting for the last three years to start exporting to the Chinese market after China put in place stringent measures, which required Kenya to only export frozen crop. However, in March, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocados.
CBK governor Patrick Njoroge told MPs last week that the resolution of the market access is expected to lift exports in the horticultural sector after companies recorded shipments to China.
“In horticulture, the issue was avocados, where there was a problem with market access to China, but now that has been fixed so we expect this to reset itself,” said the governor.
China cleared 15 firms to export avocado into its vast market after an audit gave them a clean bill of health.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) said the 15 farms have been cleared and they will use nine-pack houses that have been approved by both the Chinese and Kenyan authorities to conduct the exports.
Producers and exporters wanting to export fresh avocados to China will now have to ensure that all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities are registered by Kephis as one of the new conditions to access that market.
Of the other horticulture exports, tea fetched $1.29 billion (Sh155.4 billion) in the year to July—an increase of nine percent year-on-year—to entrench its position as the leading food crop earner for the country.
Coffee exports earned the country $318 million (Sh38.3 billion) in the period, up from $238 million (Sh328.7 billion) in the 12 months to July 2021.