Horticulture earnings defy coronavirus pandemic to record 8.7pc jump

Earnings from horticulture have risen 8.7% in the ten months of the year to October boosted by high demand in Europe and Asia.

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Data from the Horticulture Directorate indicates that revenue jumped to Kshs. 126 billion from Kshs. 116 billion during a similar period in 2019.

However, export volumes fell by 6% to 263 million kilograms due to logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The global horticulture industry has gone through a painful phase this year where 70% of traders are expecting a significant drop in earnings rattled by slow demand due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Association of Horticultural Producers indicates the horticulture global market was valued at Kshs. 28 trillion, but this year industry players expect the market value to drop.

The Horticulture Directorate says fruits export earnings rose to Kshs. 17 billion from Kshs. 11 billion during the period under review.

In April the world’s largest flower market in Amsterdam was closed in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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This impacted Kenyan flower exporters adversely as the Netherlands is Kenya’s biggest export market for flowers.

Flowers, which account for the largest portion of the income from horticulture exports fetched Kshs. 90 billion as demand peaked following the reopening of many economies in Europe.

The directorate says it does not expect full-year results to change in the face of the second wave of the coronavirus that has led to the closure of some economies in key markets in Europe and the United States.

During the first ten months of this year, vegetable earnings fell to Kshs. 19 billion from Kshs. 21 billion.

The directorate is worried the second wave is likely to lead to reduced demand, especially during the Christmas season.

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