- The flowers sub-sector registered 70%, vegetables (18), and fruits (2%
- While cut flower exports dropped, the volumes and earnings from fruits and vegetables more than tripled.
Kenya's earnings from cut flowers dropped to a five-year low in 2023 as international buyers went for bouquets.
The latest report by the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK) shows the country exported 116,000 tonnes of cut flowers worth Sh73 billion during the year compared to 203,000 tonnes worth Sh104 billion in 2022.
This is the least cut flower export volume the country has recorded since 2017 when it shipped 160,000 tonnes worth Sh82 billion to the international market.
Fresh Produce Consortium CEO Okisegere Ojepati says the international market now prefers ready bouquets direct from the source country, a move likely to spur value addition.
"Besides diversification from the competition, we see that making bouquets at source is cheaper than doing it in Europe. On top of that, many European countries and the UK are dealing with labour shortage," Okisegere said.
Kenya Flower Council blames the drop in cut flower export volumes on high inflation that hit a 40-year high in several Euro markets, cutting on buyers' purchasing ability.
Mid-last year, KFC boss Clement Telezi said "With inflationary pressure, people in Europe have cut, especially on energy costs, they are cutting expenditure on things like ornaments where cut flowers fall. Eurozone inflation peaked at 10.6 per cent."
“We are also incurring a lot of production costs on the shilling which we cannot recover on the euro and pound when you are selling.”
"He added that the Kenyan flower sector is experiencing rising demand as the economies of key export markets continue to recover".
Earnings from the country’s horticulture industry increased to Sh157 billion in the 2023 production year against the backdrop of local and global economic interruptions.
A market report indicates that earnings grew by 6.8 per cent from Sh147 billion recorded in 2022, with the exports to the European Union (EU) market taking the lion’s share of 50.1 per cent.
Some of the leading export destinations include; the Netherlands enjoying a market share of 27.3 per cent of the total horticulture exports, the UK (14.3 per cent), France (12), UAE (5.8) and Germany (5.1).
The flowers sub-sector registered 70 per cent, vegetables (18), and fruits (12 per cent) of the total horticulture produce shipped during the review period.
While cut flower exports dropped, the volumes and earnings from fruits and vegetables more than tripled to 188,100 tonnes from 59,900 in 2017 to 188,000 tonnes. Last year, 113,000 tonnes of fruits were harvested.
The high volumes of fruits saw farmers pocket Sh32.2 billion during the period compared to Sh19.7 billion.
Kenya exported 164,060 metric tonnes of vegetables, doubling the amount netted the previous year. This earned the country Sh50.87 billion compared to Sh75.4 billion in 2022.