Cut flower exports earnings down 30pc on low demand


Earnings from exports of cut flowers declined by 29.5 percent last year. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Earnings from exports of cut flowers declined by 29.5 percent last year on the back of muted demand for flowers in key markets.

The Horticultural Crops Directorate data shows cut flower exports fetched Sh73.45 billion in 2023, marking a steep decline from Sh104.25 billion.

The decline was informed by a significant drop in export volumes, which went down to 116,270 tonnes down from 202,850 tonnes that were exported in 2022. It is the second successive decline in export volumes and earnings from the commodity and the lowest in more than six years.

Kenyan flower exporters have been facing reduced demand for flowers from key markets, especially the European Union (EU), the US and the UK.

High inflation in those markets has reduced the purchasing power of consumers, which has forced them to cut spending on non-essential items such as flowers.

Kenya’s flowers have also been increasingly facing stiffer competition from flowers from other top producers such as Ecuador and Colombia, which are also chipping off the EU market.

Rose flowers from Kenya are also set for tighter plant health checks in the EU starting May 1 as the bloc moves to reduce the risk of false codling moth in cut roses.

This follows the bloc adopting changes to the minimum percentage of plant health import inspections at EU borders of consignments from Kenya and Ethiopia.

Roses are one of the main varieties of flowers exported by Kenya. Others are carnations and alstroemeria.

“As previously announced, this percentage will be increased to 25 percent for both origins (instead of 10 percent for Kenya and five percent for Ethiopia at the moment) and shall become effective from May 1, 2024,” an industry lobby, the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya said.

Cut flowers – mainly grown in flower farms in Naivasha - are Kenya’s largest horticultural export, beating fresh fruits and flowers.

The Netherlands is the largest buyer of Kenya’s flowers, while the UK and the US are also leading buyers of the produce.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.