The value of Kenya’s horticulture rose by Sh8 billion defying lower volumes in the first quarter of the year as disruption of the supply chain by Covid-19 raised demand in the world market.
The produce recorded Sh47 billion in the first three months compared with Sh39 billion in a similar period in 2019, despite a 13 per cent decline in volumes.
Head of the Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito says disruption witnessed globally has interrupted the supply of the horticulture produce to the international market, coming as a windfall for the Kenyan commodities.
“The value for the first quarter has grown significantly. The lockdown in different parts of the world has seen the prices of Kenya’s horticulture produce go up despite a decline in volume,” said Mr Tito.
The volumes exported in the review period went down to 84 million tonnes from 98 million tonnes recorded in the previous quota.
Kenya has at the moment seen an increase in demand for vegetables and fruits to European market with the shortage in the world created by Covid-19 coming as a boost to the country’s sector. However, the volumes being exported have gone down for lack of capacity to transport the produce as most of the airlines pulled out of Nairobi following travel restrictions occasioned by Coronavirus.
The chief executive officer of Fresh Produce Consortium Ojepat Okesegere says the sector has received more orders from abroad but the capacity to transport is down.
“The orders are there and the market is willing to pay more, but cargo flights still remain a challenge,” said Mr Okesegere. Shortage of fruits and vegetables has hit the European market compelling some countries in the continent to open up orders on fresh produce, which had been cancelled following the emergence of Covid-19, with the Mother’s Day next month pushing up the demand for flowers.
Local exporters are now getting orders for vegetables and fruits such as avocado in the countries like United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Germany.