Nairobi plans e-platform to export agricultural products to China


Workers pluck tea in Nandi Hills, Nandi County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya is working on an online platform that will sell agricultural products such as tea, coffee and macadamia nuts to the Chinese market, following the signing of six memoranda of agreements (MoUs) with the Asian giant.

The two countries also plan to have exchange programmes by June to boost the export of avocados.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nairobi Chapter chairman Julius Opio said the platform would ease access to Chinese markets for the exporters. It is expected to cut new logistic challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic causing delays in supply and affecting business.

Some of the firms that have made pitches for the e-commerce market are Huawei Technologies, China Mobile Technology and Xingyun Group.

“We’ve companies giving us a platform where we can market our exports to the Chinese markets online. These are the kind of opportunities we are looking at,” said Mr Opio.

“We’re coming from a Covid-19 impact and there are a lot of logistics challenges businesses are facing like not shipping on time or getting goods on time. We are trying to see how we can go online and build efficiencies.”

This is part of collaboration stipulated under the six bilateral MoUs on health, poverty reduction, agricultural initiatives and digital innovation. Others are the promotion of investments, green development, training and people-to-people exchange.

Kenyan exports to Asian nations include tea, leather, sisal fibre, fish, plastics, meat, cotton, hides and skins and scrap metal.

However, the platform is set to focus on agricultural products, taking advantage of an expanding China’s coffee consumption, demand for spicy and specialty tea due to its antioxidants, and developed affinity for black tea, especially by Chinese youth.

It will also see the Asian nation market its agro-processing inputs, leather processing, footwear, textile, steel and iron, machinery, gas and oil and construction machines.