Earnings from Kenya’s horticulture in the first half of the year rose to US $751m against US $706m in the same period in 2019, despite trade interruption caused by Covid-19. The returns were reportedly boosted by higher demand for fruits and vegetables as Europe – Kenya’s major market for fresh produce – opened up its economy after weeks of lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
According to media reports, fruits registered almost double income growth from US $64m- 111m in the review period. The head of the Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito, said that produce has been in high demand and the price has been good, helping lift up the earnings in the past six months.
He further added that improved income from fruits was boosted by high volumes of avocado following ongoing harvest of the produce across the country. Flowers, which normally account for the largest portion of income from horticulture exports, raked in US $519m, a 2% increase from the previous period.
This is following cancelled orders of flower exports by overseas buyers as the auction in Amsterdam closed, leaving growers with the option of direct sales. However, the auction has so far reopened and stakeholders in the flower sector are hoping for a good harvest ahead of the peak season in September.
Mr Tito said higher earnings were occasioned by enhanced demand and good prices that Kenya’s produce fetched in the world market. The impressive performance was registered against the backdrop of a decline in volumes, which was 19m tonnes short of the previous season. Moreover, industry data from the directorate indicates the volumes dropped to 160m kilogrammes in the review period from 181m in the corresponding period in 2019.