Horticulture earnings rise to Sh148bn despite Covid

The horticulture sector defied the harsh economic environment last year to post Sh148 billion in earnings from Sh143 billion in 2019, boosting the country’s forex coffers.

The Directorate of Horticulture said the higher earnings were despite a decline of 15 per cent in volumes of flowers and a 13 per cent dip in vegetable exports in the review period.

The earnings were boosted by high demand of fruits as Europe—Kenya’s major market for fresh produce—reopened following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

“The figures were impressive despite the challenges that we faced last year and this is due to high demand for Kenya’s produce in the world market in review period,” said the directorate.

Horticulture earnings have over the last couple of years emerged third in terms of foreign earnings after diaspora remittance and tourism. However, with tourism negatively impacted last year due to a dip in number of visitors, the sector is likely to be vying with tea for the second position in 2020.

The tourism industry lost Sh80 billion in the first six months of last year, according to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, highlighting the adverse effects of Covid-19. The loss is nearly half of the Sh160 billion that the sector realised in 2019.

In the flower sector, the Covid-19 pandemic saw cancellation of orders destined to the auction in the Netherlands after restrictions were ramped up in the second quarter of the year. The move subjected hundreds of the flower farms in the country to massive losses.

Source: Business Daily

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