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Kenya's 2015 flower earnings swell 5 pctTuesday, March 01, 2016 > 10:50:14
Kenya's earnings from flower exports grew by 5 percent last year as the sector showed resurgence following the successful renewal of trade agreement with the European Union in late 2014.
Failure to renew on time the agreement with the trading bloc in 2014 hit the sector amid a weakening global economy.
Kenyan farmers had to grapple with introduction of taxes on their produce following the lapse of the Economic Partnership Agreement.
But things warmed up in 2015, with earnings from cut flowers rising by about 30.1 million U.S. dollars, latest figures from the Horticultural Directorate showed Monday.
The East African nation in 2014 earned 593 million dollars, and the growth to 623 million dollars in 2015 was a major boost to farmers in the country where big players dominate the trade.
The growth in earnings, according to the data, was majorly due to a considerable surge in quantity of flowers exported.
Kenyan farmers exported up to 12,650 metric tonnes (MT) a month, a feat that was not achieved in 2014 and the past.
In total, Kenya exported 122,825 MT of flowers last year, up from 114,763 in 2014.
Kenya Flower Council Chief Executive Jane Ngige noted that the flower industry is on a recovery path, adding that they are working with small-scale growers to meet EU trade rules to boost exports.
In 2013, Kenya's flower industry brought in over 455 million dollars, 29.7 million dollars more than the previous year.
Therefore, flower exports which are mainly grown in Naivasha, a district in northwest of Nairobi, are a crucial economic activity for the East African nation, with the sector roughly employing 500,000 jobs directly, with over two million people relying on the industry indirectly.
Kenya is one of the largest suppliers of cut flowers to the EU with a 31 percent market share. The major market is Netherlands at 69 percent, where Dutch wholesalers buy flowers for re-export to the U.S. and other nations.
Of the flowers sold, roses make up 74 percent of exports, with carnations, which are mainly sold in Britain, Germany and France, coming in second. Other flowers grown include chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, peonies, orchid and tiger lilies.