Kenya eyes direct flower exports to Gulf countries


Workers pack flowers for export. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya is looking to create a direct linkage of fresh flower cuts from farmers to United Arab Emirates and the other five Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries as it seeks to diversify exports.

The government is holding bilateral talks with GCC countries -Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman— to remove tariffs and logistics constraints to increase export volumes.

Currently, over 70 percent of the country’s flowers are exported to the Netherlands with only less than one percent into GCC.

The country is eyeing the projected demand from the gulf region with over 54 million population, available cold storage facilities and direct flights, especially between Kenya and UAE.

“We are looking at huge opportunities at GCC region. There is huge consumer power and buying opportunities in this part of the world,” Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (Keproba) chairman Jaswinder Bedi said during the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai.

“We are holding a GCC business forum and we hope to achieve partnership through business-to-business matches.”

Only about $18 million (Sh2.03 billion) worth of flowers is sold to UAE per annum. This is attributed to 24 percent to 54 percent tariff on the value of the cut flowers in the six countries.

“There is huge potential but we are charged high tariffs in the region. If we have bilateral engagements, then we can be given exemption on some of those tariffs which will make us very competitive,” Kenya Flower Council chief executive Clement Tulezi said.

“The kind of discussions we are going to do is to try to remove the bottlenecks that are there on tariffs, on logistics and on phytosanitary matters to move these flower flowers and ornamentals to this market as quickly as we can.”

Cut flowers and ornamental foliage earned Kenya Sh81.6 billion in the 11 months to November 2021, a 36.8 percent rise compared to Sh60.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.

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