Horticulture earnings jump 6pc to Sh145b in 11 months

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 08:00 | By
Kenya's horticulture. PHOTO/Print

Horticulture earnings jumped by six per cent to Sh145.4 billion during the last 11 months on the back of high demand for fresh produce as export destinations continue to relax Covid-19 restrictions.

During the January-November 2021 period, the earnings increased by Sh8.7 billion from Sh136.7 billion registered in the same period in 2020. 

The growth was attributed to increased volumes though average export prices achieved were low compared to those achieved in 2020.

Speaking during a media briefing in Nairobi yesterday, Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) director Benjamin Tito said in 2020, the total volume and value of horticulture exports reached 313 million kilos with a value of Sh150 billion.

“Total volume of exports increased by 85 million kilos, representing a 30 per cent rise attributed to increased demand, especially flowers and vegetables,” he said.

Tito said demand for fresh produce has started picking up as most of the export destinations continue opening up their economies after more than one year of closure as they grappled with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the review period, cut flowers shipped to the lucrative European market reached Sh101 billion followed by vegetables at Sh26.8 billion and fruits returned Sh17.5 billion.

In 2020, he added that Kenya was the leading exporter of avocado in Africa and among the top 10 world’s largest exporters but only shipped 10 per cent of its total avocado production.

Avocado farmers

Avocado farmers returned Sh14.41 billion in the review period compared to Sh14.48 billion the same period last year. Volumes of the highly sought-after commodity in the local and international market went up to 84.5 million kilos from 70.3 million kilos recorded between Jan-November 2020. 

Murang’a County is still the leading producer of fruit, accounting 31 per cent by value followed by Kiambu, Nakuru, Kisii, Nyamira, Bomet and Meru.

“Vegetable exports volumes increased from 34.38 million kilos in 2020 to 65.13 million kilos in 2021. The value also increased from Sh13.9 billion 2020 to Sh23.78 billion in 2021 with the United Kingdom, Holland and France remaining the leading export destinations,” Tito explained. Between January and November 2021, he added, fruit exports increased to 110.5 million kilos from 99.5 million kilos in 2020 representing an 11 per cent rise.

“However, the value dropped from Sh17.75 billion to Sh17.57 billion in 2021, representing a 1 per cent decrease,” Tito added.

The director confirmed that his directorate in conjunction with other value chains has closed the avocado harvesting season from 15 November 2021 to early January 15, 2022.

The closure of the season, he said was executed to prevent the export of immature avocados.

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