Exports to China up 74pc on farm produce orders


Avocado farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Chinese orders for Kenyans goods jumped 74.13 percent in the first six months of the year, signalling economic dividends from a diplomatic charm offensive that Nairobi has mounted from late 2018.

China bought goods worth a record Sh7.48 billion compared with Sh4.30 billion in the same period of 2018, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates.

Nairobi has been conducting aggressive trade promotion and marketing campaigns in China, primarily aimed at growing and expanding the market for Kenyan farm produce.

Coffee, specialty tea, cut flowers and avocados are some of the farm produce which continue to gain market access to China, Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency chief executive Peter Biwott said.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta has created a strong bond between Kenya and China which is why Kenya exports continue increasing in the Chinese market,” Mr Biwott said.

“Some of the strategies we are using include scaling up trade promotion and linking Kenya exporters to Chinese buyers. We also want to create exporter-buyer frameworks that would deliver more goods and services by Kenyans to China.”

Kenya has made accessing the populous Chinese and Indian markets a priority under the Integrated National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy, an export diversification plan unveiled in July 2018.

The five envoys posted to the Far East Asian region last year were also given clear instructions to scout for new markets for Kenya’s largely raw agricultural exports in China and India.

India is, however, proving hard to crack thus far, with Kenyan exports falling Sh1.84 billion, or 37.61 percent, to Sh3.05 billion in the half-year period of 2019 compared with a year earlier.