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Commodities

Horticulture lobby seeks KQ subsidy to cut freight costs

KQ cargo aircraft
Fresh produce exporters want the Sh1.5 billion horticulture stimulus kitty released by the government given to Kenya Airways (KQ) as a subsidy to the carrier. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Fresh produce exporters want the Sh1.5 billion horticulture stimulus kitty released by the government given to Kenya Airways (KQ) as a subsidy to the carrier, to help cut high freight charges.

Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC) said the current freight charges make Kenya’s products expensive and uncompetitive at the international market.

The cost of ferrying a kilo of cargo from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Europe currently averages Sh500 from a low of Sh200 during the same time last year.

“If anything, the export stimulus fund should be given to KQ to enable it carry more cargo at affordable rates,” said Ojepat Okisegere, chief executive officer FPC.

Freight charges have been high since the Covid-19 outbreak, which saw several airlines stop their operations in Nairobi.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a Sh53.7 billion stimulus programme in May to jump-start the economy.

About Sh1.5 billion was set aside to support horticulture producers to access international markets.

Mr Okisegere also said the government should support the national carrier in acquiring high capacity aircraft to help in evacuation of more cargo to the world market.

JKIA has witnessed a return of cargo flights since May, which now stand at about 12 from three in March.

Some of the airlines flying to Nairobi now include Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirate Cargo, Lufthansa, Martinair, Etihad, British Airways and KLM among others.

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