Earnings from horticulture dropped by Sh10 billion last year compared with the previous period marking one of the poorest performances recorded in the sector in recent years.
Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) statistics show the earnings in the review period dropped to Sh144 billion from Sh154 billion in 2018.
Flowers made the bulk of the earnings at Sh104 billion with vegetables emerging second raking in Sh25 billion, followed by fruits at Sh13 billion.
The reduction in volumes is attributed to adverse weather conditions including drought at the beginning of the year and heavy rains that spoiled the produce. There were also some interceptions on Kenyan vegetables due to non-compliance and especially presence of pesticide residues.
All the categories registered a decline in value with flowers hit the most losing Sh9 billion from the previous season.
“The decrease in the value of flower exports is mainly due to the fact that the bulk of Kenya’s flowers are sold through the auction in Europe, which recorded lower prices,” said AFA.
The cut-flower export remains the largest earner in horticulture, contributing 73 percent of the total fresh produce earnings in 2019.
In 2019, the value of export earnings from fruits stood at Sh13.2 billion, a slight increase from Sh12.8 billion recorded in 2018. The volume in 2018 was 75,500 tonnes and increased to 81,800 tonnes last year. The increase was attributed to an increase in pineapple exports.
Avocado remained the single largest exported fruit taking 80 percent of the total value at Sh10.6 billion in 2019 with a slight reduction from Sh10.8 billion in 2018. The value of vegetables dropped slightly from Sh27.7 billion in 2018 to Sh25.4 billion in 2019, representing an eight percent decrease. Mixed vegetables still accounted for the biggest export crop in this category at 49.5 percent and beans at 22.3 percent in value.