Kenya mulls value addition on fresh produce to boost exports

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 17, 2018: Kenyan avocados on display at the WorldFood Moscow 2018 International Food Exhibition at Moscow's Expocentre. Sergei Fadeichev/TASS (Photo by Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images)
Kenyan avocados on display at an exhibition. (Photo by Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images)

Kenya planned to enhance value addition on fresh produce like avocado and vegetables alongside tea to boost their competitiveness in the overseas market, a government official said on Thursday.

Betty Maina, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, said that actors in the horticultural value chains have been encouraged to set up infrastructure to boost value addition.

“We really expect our manufacturing output to grow with greater focus being on value addition, I can confirm that we have exported frozen avocado to China in the last two months,” Maina said during a virtual briefing in Nairobi.

“We believe that trade is the driver of our economy, consumers prefer pre-cooked products and value addition is the way to go,” she added.

She said the market for frozen avocados originating from Kenya has been expanding in Europe and Africa.

“We have a great opportunity to expand our market, we expect our output of manufacturing to grow every year, “said Maina.

“One of the things that kept us going is our export that managed to revive itself quickly. I know it is expensive to start it up but it is something that can be done by joint use of facilities and use it at a fee,” she added.

Maina who was speaking during a webinar on the country’s export agenda 2020-2021 and how to build resilience for the export sector amid COVID-19 pandemic said that Kenya was working on a financing model to boost its exports portfolio.

She said that COVID-19 disruptions led to a decline in volume of fresh produce exported overseas adding that a rebound is being realized thanks to resumption of international flights.

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