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Commodities

Horticulture earnings jump to Sh101 billion

Avocado farmer.
Avocado farmer. Fruits earnings continued to register significant growth, rallying by 50 percent to Sh15 billion from Sh10 billion previously. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Horticulture earnings in the first eight months of the year rose to Sh101 billion from Sh97 billion in similar period last year, as more countries opened up their economies on easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The earnings were boosted by higher demand of fruits as Europe—Kenya’s major market for fresh produce— rolled back most of the restrictions that were in place to control the spread of coronavirus.

Fruits earnings continued to register significant growth, rallying by 50 percent to Sh15 billion from Sh10 billion previously.

The improved income from fruits was boosted by enhanced volumes of avocado as harvesting continues in the country.

“The fruit sub-sector has been expanding and growing owing to exports of avocado amid high demand in the world market,” said Benjamin Tito, head of Horticulture Directorate.

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On the other hand, vegetables recorded an 11 percent decline in earnings to fetch Sh15.7 billion from Sh17.8 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Flowers, which normally account for the largest portion of the income from horticulture exports, brought in Sh70 billion, a 1.6 percent increase from the previous review period.

Flower exports were highly hit Covid-19, with orders that had been earlier made by overseas buyers cancelled as the auction in Amsterdam closed, leaving growers with only the option of direct sales.

The flower market, however, has started picking ahead of the high season next month, with stakeholders expecting good returns after a bad performance in the last quarter.

Mr Tito said that overall, the higher horticulture earnings reflect enhanced demand and good prices that Kenya’s produce continues to fetch in the world market.

The performance in the review period was registered against a backdrop of a decline in volumes, which was 19 million tonnes short of the previous season—volumes dropped to 211 million kilogrammes in the review period from 230 million in corresponding period in 2019.

Fruits and vegetables have been in high demand in the European market because of the dietary needs to boost body immunity in the wake of Covid-19.

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