Kenya launches marketing strategy to boost horticultural exports

A horticulture technician examines a rose flower-crop on March 1, 2010, TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A horticulture technician examines a rose flower-crop at the Hamerkop flower farm in the Kenyan lake-side town of Naivasha, approximately 90 kilometres north-east of the capital Nairobi. (Photo credit TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kenya on Thursday said it had launched a year-long marketing communication strategy to help boost the country’s horticultural exports in order to achieve a 10 percent export growth in 2020-2021 period.

The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA), which launched the strategy with stakeholders, said the strategy will target horticultural exports in China, EU, Britain, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Russia and the U.S.

Wilfred Marube, CEO, KEPROBA said the Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy (IMC) between the agency and horticultural sector will work towards achieving a coordinated communication program that is customer-focused and consistent towards achieving a competitive advantage for the horticultural produce.

“As an agency, we can only rely on the producers since our role is to facilitate exports growth in the targeted and emerging markets,” Marube said.

The horticultural sector remains among Kenya’s top four foreign exchange earners for the country, accounting for 19 percent of Kenya’s total exports in 2019.

This was made up of floriculture at 11 percent, fruits and vegetables at 4 percent each, said KEPROBA.

Kenya’s key destinations for horticultural exports in 2019 included Netherlands which attracted 39.1 billion shillings (355.5 million U.S. dollars), Britain 217 million dollars, UAE 52 million dollars and the U.S. 49 million dollars and Germany 43 million dollars.

These leading five markets accounted for 13 percent of Kenya’s total exports and 72 percent of Kenya’s exports on horticulture respectively.

According to KEPROBA, some of the key goals of the strategy is to position Kenya as the world’s premier source of quality horticultural produce grown by ordinary farmers, in natural and sustainable conditions; build trust, strengthen synergies and information-sharing between stakeholders in Kenya’s horticultural value chain; as well as drive increased horticultural foreign exchange earnings from key and emerging export markets.

Marube said the multi-sectoral collaboration with key players in the horticultural sector in developing the strategy will ensure all the producers in the horticultural industry are holistically engaged to maximize results.

The East African nation registered horticultural exports worth 449 million dollars in the first quarter of 2010, up by 1.82 million dollars compared with the 306 million dollars registered in the same period in 2019.

In the second quarter of 2020, a lower export value of horticulture amounting to 217 million dollars was registered compared to 247 million dollars registered in the same period in 2019, according to statistics from KEPROBA.

Kenya’s half year exports of horticulture decreased by 27.3 million dollars to 526 million dollars in 2020 from 554 million dollars in the same period in 2019.

The agency attributed the decrease to the emergence of COVID-19 and the measures to control its spread which saw nations closing their borders, thus hindering exports.

Some of the outlined strategies include combined horticultural events planning, advocacy on common issues, public relations activities, digital marketing and compelling storytelling campaigns.

The strategy is a collaboration between the agency and Kenya Flower Council, Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, Kenya Airways, as well as Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya.

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