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Kenya in rush to secure Ksh2.7 billion horticulture market in Australia as deadline looms

Kenya’s exporters of cut flowers to Australia have a reason to smile after receiving a nod to import Fumigation gas, a new requirement for exporting flowers that are pest free.

It is a relief to the horticultural sector but at the same time a lose rope to hope on to because Kenya stands to miss out on a Ksh2.7 billion horticulture market in Australia if it fails to abide by the new regulations imposed on flowers exportation.

The government has a deadline of September 2 to ensure that all horticulture products entering Australian market are pest free in line with Australia’s rules and regulations.

According to Fresh Produce Exporters Association Chief Executive Officer Ojepat Okisegere, Kenya has sought an extension to the deadline, since losing Australia, a market which brings up to Ksh2.7 billion annually would be harmful to the horticultural sector and the economy.

“The Australian government is saying that we fumigate at the point of exit and not entry, basically meaning that we do it ourselves and reduce the burden on their side. They are saying so because Australia is an Island and being an island any paste that lands their and isn’t in their country is disastrous. And now we have two days to abide by the condition.” Said Okisegere.

According to a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya’s cut-flower exports grew by 20% in the first five months of 2017. The growth was realized despite initially perceived challenges such as Brexit that industry pundits predicted would have an impact on the market.

KNBS data indicated that Kenya cut-flower export earned just over Ksh39 billion compared to Ksh32.7 billion over the same period in 2016.

The report further indicated that Kenya exported 138,000 tonnes of flowers, fruits and vegetables in the first five months of this year compared to 113,993 tonnes in 2016. Earnings from exports to the UK increased by 4.5 percent, to about 138 million euro compared to 132 million euro in 2016.

In Kenya, flowers are grown in Naivasha, Mt Kenya region, Nairobi, Thika, Kitale, Nakuru, Kiambu, Athi River and Kericho, among other places.

The Dutch Flower Group (DFG) blends the roses with various flowers to end up with custom-made bouquets in high volumes for mass retail.

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Digital Desk, Metropol TV

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