Kenya pushes for direct cut flower sales to Qatar


Qatar Development Bank Kenya matchmaking forum at the Villa Rosa Kempinski on January 30, 2020. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

Kenya’s private sector is proposing to sell flowers directly to Qatar as part of efforts to boost trade relations with the Middle East country.

The push for the flower exports to the Middle East was one of the proposals that officials put on the table during the Kenya-Qatar trade and investment forum, which opened in Nairobi Thursday.

The forum, organised by Qatar Development Bank led by its executive director for export development and promotion Hamad Salem Mejegheer, seeks to increase bilateral trade between the two counties currently estimated at Sh4.1 billion.

“Kenya attaches great importance to this event, given our status as a leading service destination.

“We want to have direct flower auction to Doha, which is four hours from here,” said Ms Fatma Elmaavy, second vice president of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Investment.

The Netherlands serves as the largest export destination for Kenyan flowers followed by Britain, which also sources flowers from Ethiopia and South America.

Officials said Kenya’s cut flowers export could benefit from Qatar Airways’ direct flight to Doha currently operated 25 times a week.

While flower export has remained resilient over the years, having contributed Sh113.16 billion in 2018, a 37.8 per cent growth from the previous year, its future looks uncertain as Britain exits the European Union bloc today.

Last year, Trade ministry announced plans to open a cut flower distribution centre in China as a new strategy to create direct sales link and grow its exports to the Asian market.

“We are inviting Qatari companies and investors to increase foreign direct investments in Kenya and raise export programme,” said Pius Rotich, investment promotion and business development services general manager at Kenya Investment Authority.

march-making event

The co-operation between Kenya and Qatari is also expected to attract infrastructure development initiatives on renewable energy development, healthcare, security and high technologies.

“This matchmaking event is after a six-month study does in the Kenyan market and business. Qatar is looking for business partners, especially contractors and distributors to work with close to 30 companies,” said Mr Mejegheer.

A similar forum is expected to be conducted in Doha, said Mr Rotich.