Kenya’s flower exports forecast to rise in 2021 as demand expands

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A horticulture technician examines a rose flower-crop on March 1, 2010 at the Hamerkop flower farm in the Kenyan lake-side town of Naivasha, approximately 90 kilometres north-east of the capital Nairobi. Facing a myriad of accusations by the general community, from unsafe working conditions to low wages to reckless environmental practices, horticulture still continues to be one of the fastest growing sub sectors in Kenya's export sector, growing at over 7% annually. AFP PHOTO/Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
A horticulture technician examines a rose flower-crop on March 1, 2010 at the Hamerkop flower farm in the Kenyan lake-side town of Naivasha, approximately 90 kilometres north-east of the capital Nairobi. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kenya’s flower exports are projected to rise in 2021 as compared to last year due to expanding international demand, the industry said on Wednesday.

Richard Fox, director of Kenya Flower Council (KFC) told Xinhua in Nairobi that the industry earned about 108.7 billion shillings (983 million U.S. dollars) in 2020.

“We are expecting the flower sector to perform remarkably well in 2021 despite the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in our key export markets,” Fox said.

Flowers are the largest source of foreign exchange earnings for the East African nation after tea with production in 2020 estimated at 140,000 tons of flowers.

Fox observed that revenues this year will also increase due to higher prices of the commodities which have been driven by higher airfreight costs.

He noted the trade agreements that Kenya has negotiated with export markets have also given confidence for the sector to increase their cultivation of flowers.

Fox said that the European Union and Britain are the largest importers of Kenyan flowers while Russia, Japan, China and Australia are also significant markets.

He revealed that large-scale flower growers tend to sell their produce through direct sales to overseas buyers while small farmers rely on the Dutch flower auction in the Netherlands.

He noted that Kenya produces quality flowers which are currently in demand in the global flower markets.

According to the KFC, the majority of flower production in Kenya is sold in overseas markets as domestic sales remain low.

Fox said that the flower sector is seeking tax incentives in order to boost their competitiveness against other flower exporting countries.

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