Kenya’s horticulture exports recovering

File photo shows workers prepare freshly cut flowers in a pack house for export to European countries ahead of Valentines Day at Finlays Horticulture Kenya Ltd-Flamingo Farm in Naivasha, about 95 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua/Sheikh Maina)

Kenya’s vegetable and flower exports have recovered to about 80 percent of the volumes before the COVID-19 outbreak, an apex industry organization, Fresh Produce of Kenya, confirmed on Thursday.

Okisegere Ojepat, chief executive officer of the organization, said that initial panic resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak in March that disrupted exports had corrected itself gradually.

“Our vegetable export has recovered up to 89 percent of volumes exported before the pandemic hit Kenya while flower export has recovered to 80 percent. In March, when the panic set in, our exports dropped from 100 percent to 30 percent,” said Ojepat during a webinar organized by Strathmore University in Nairobi.

“What we are lacking now are enough supplies. This is because many farmers were disrupted leading to stoppage of production,” he said.

Ojepat said cargo movement to Middle East, Europe and the United States from Nairobi has enabled Kenyan farmers to resume exports, and the market is becoming bigger.

Horticulture is Kenya’s third foreign exchange earner after remittances and tea exports.