NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s earnings from fresh produce exports in
2017 jumped to 1.15 billion U.S. dollars, an 11 percent increase
over 2016 earnings, the industry association said on Thursday.
Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) Chairman Sylvester Maina told
journalists in Nairobi that the sector remained resilient amid
political and economic uncertainties of 2017.
“We laud the
resilience of the fresh produce sector in the eye of the
political and economic storm witnessed in 2017 and we are happy
with the performance. This is the similar resilience that
enabled the sector to weather the Brexit shock, pointing to the
greater potential of the sector,” Maina said.
The data released by
FPC Kenya shows flower exports contributed 822 million dollars,
up from 708 million dollars earned in 2016, representing a 11.6
percent growth, on export volume of 159,961 tonnes.
Maina said that
fruits and vegetables earned Kenya 90 million dollars and 240
million dollars, on export volumes of 56,945 tones and 87,240
export still remains the largest earner, contributing over 70
percent of the total fresh produce annual earnings.
Maina was speaking
at the official launch of FPC Kenya, which was rebranded from
Kenya Association of Fruits and Vegetable Exporters.
“The rebranding now
broadens our mandate to cover more areas particularly domestic
market which has never been well coordinated, offers us capacity
to engage with more stakeholders, and enables us to extend our
membership and grow the sector,” he said.
In 2017, the fresh
produce sector earned 3.05 billion dollars from both domestic
and export revenue.
Maina said that the
vast amount of produce is consumed locally, with less than ten
percent of volume being sold overseas.
According to the
lobby, the fresh produce sector has faced several challenges
including lack of traceability systems for the fresh produce,
high cost of production, lack of extension services, poor
information flow, middlemen menace, insufficient cooling
facilities, weak compliance to food safety requirements, and
Maina noted that
approximately 80 percent of all fresh produce exports are
sourced from small scale farmers.
Paul Mwenda, the
Vice Chairman of FPC Kenya said that producers are seeking new
markets in order to diversify from traditional markets in the
He said that most
common fruits exported are mangos and avocados while French
beans, snow peas, sugar snap constitute the bulk of vegetables
sold in international markets.
He noted that the
proposed direct flights between Kenya and the United States will
also help to boost export earnings for farmers.
perishable produce are likely to benefit as the direct flights
to the United States will reduce the time taken to reach the
market,” he added.
Mwenda said that
members of his lobby are also seeking to enter the Chinese fresh
“We have identified
herbs and spices such as mint to have the biggest potential for
farmers,” he said.
The trade lobby
plans to organize an awareness campaign in order to educate
farmers on how to penetrate the lucrative Chinese market.
Mwenda said that one
of the strategies under consideration to venture into the Asian
giant’s market of over one billion consumers is through
participating in trade fairs in China.
Kenya’s fresh produce lobby
works to enhance food safety standards
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s fresh produce lobby said Thursday it
plans to enforce stringent hygiene in order to enhance food
safety standards in the country.
Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) CEO Okesegere Ojepat told
journalists in Nairobi that its members will strictly adhere to
the KS1758 standards developed by government on fruits and
vegetables for food safety.
“We are going to
adopt high food handling practices in order to eliminate cases
of food contamination,” Ojepat said.
He said that the
food lobby will embrace processes that will ensure that food
available in the market is suitable for human consumption.
The official said
that rising middle class has also increased demand for fresh
fruits and vegetables, hence the need to prioritize food safety
He noted that
currently farmers especially in the perishable sector lack
adequate infrastructure to maintain food safety due to lack of
“As a result, food
handling along the value chain could lead to contamination of
food with harmful bacteria and fungi,” he said.
According to FPC
Kenya, fresh produce can become unfit for human consumption if
farmers use contaminated fertilizers or if their produce gets
into contact with sewerage water.
Ojepat said that
lack of awareness amongst farmers can lead to the production of
contaminated food, adding that food safety hazards are also
likely to emerge during the transportation and storage stage.