Horticulture earnings grew by 6.4 percent to Sh8.7 billion in the 11 months to November compared to the corresponding period last year, attributed to higher demand for Kenyan produce in the world market.
Directorate of Horticulture head Benjamin Tito says Kenya earned Sh145.4 billion between January-November, up from Sh136.7 billion last year.
He said the higher demand for Kenyan fruits, vegetables and flowers pushed up the volumes by 30 percent in the period, which helped to boost the earnings despite lower average export prices compared to those seen in 2020.
“The total value of horticultural produce exported in 2021 from January to November rose from Sh136.7 billion in 2020 to Sh145.4 billion in 2021 representing a six percent increase. The total volume of exports increased by 85 million kilos, representing a 30 percent rise that was attributed to increased demand especially flowers and vegetables,” said Mr Tito.
The volume of flowers exports increased from 287.8 million kilos in 2020 to 373.78 million kilos in 2021, a 3.3 percent rise while value increased from Sh99 billion previously to Sh101 in the review period.
Vegetable volumes rose to 65.13 million kilos from 34.38 million kilos in 2020. The value also increased from Sh13.9 billion in 2020 to Sh23.78 billion in the period.
The volume of fruits increased by 11 percent, from 99.5 million kilos in 2020 to 110.5 million kilos in 2021. However, the value dropped marginally from Sh17.75 billion to Sh17.57 billion.
The leading contributors to fruits exports were avocado, pineapple and mangoes, sold mainly to The Netherlands, France, The United Kingdom, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The European Union still accounts for the largest portion of Kenyan horticultural exports, taking in 45 percent of the exports majorly comprising cut flowers, French beans, snow peas and Asian vegetables.
Agriculture and Food Authority said there is a need for Kenya to diversify its market as reliance on the European market could have negative even in the country in the event of a volatile market.