Floriculture farming in Kenya has emerged as one of the country’s fastest growing sector, making the country a major exporter of the produce in sub-Saharan Africa, a Chambers of Commerce and Industry official has said.
The Busia Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chairman, Peter Bwire, while addressing an Investors Round Table forum in a Busia, said that with a combination of active government support, favourable agri-climatic conditions, availability of low cost farm workers and demand for vegetables and fruits on the international market in Europe, Kenya stands favoured to do better in Africa.
Statistics reveal that in 2010, floriculture export accounted for $ 490 million for Kenyan government. The earnings came through active participation by foreign investors mainly British and Dutch in the growing, processing and export sectors in both fruits and vegetables. Involvement of foreign investors in the Kenya’s floriculture sector has helped secure market access and raise products’ quality to meet EU’s sanitary and phytosanitary standards set by British retail consortium.
Peter Bwire urged locals to focus on investing in farming and exploit the available reach and financial weights of the foreign investors to expand their investment opportunities locally.
The floriculture sector exports main consumers are United Kingdom and Netherlands at 55percent and 18percent respectively. Most exported vegetables include fresh beans (French beans, dwarf beans and fine beans), fresh peas (mange tout, sugar snap and garden peas), Brussels, sprout courgettes, broccoli and baby carrots.
Fruits from Kenya exported to EU market include Avocados and Mangoes with elaborate market in France at 19.5percent, Netherlands 12.9percenmt and 9.47percent to the United States.
Peter also noted that there are enormous unexploited investment opportunities in Busia, singling out Agriculture as the pillar for other sectors.
“The government should loosen the lending conditions to enable locals access small loans to invest in SMEs,” said Bwire. He called upon both local and foreign investors to come invest in Busia County.