Earnings from the horticultural sector dropped 7 percent from Ksh.83 billion at end of June 2020 to Ksh.73 billion during a similar period this year.
This is despite an increase in the volume of exports from 160 million to 191 million kilograms during the period under review.
According to the horticultural crop directorate, shipping of immature fruits is the single largest contributor to the diminished prices.
”We agreed to make money so most times we are shipping immature fruits. These fruits however fetch very little in the international market arena,” said Benjamin Tito with the horticultural Crops directorate.
However, the trend can be reversed with proper production practices, which will guarantee value for money.
The flower sector has also registered a significant growth with 38 million kilos shipped as at June 30 compared to 21 million kilos shipped during a similar period in 2020.
Despite the upward trend, issues of FCM especially in consignments destined for Australia and the EU markets have marred the flower space.
”We had a reduction in value by 6 billion as a result of lower quality shipments despite high volumes,” added Tito.
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As industry players chart ways to revive the sector, which has been battered by the COVID19 restrictions, there are plans to woo non-traditional markets to diversify outlets for the produce.
”We are promoting markets like Russia, Asia, Pakistan, South Korea and South Africa.”
Speaking during a status report on the horticultural sector, the Food and Agriculture Authority Director General Harsame Kello issued revised regulations to ensure food safety within the domestic market.
Among them, the authority in collaboration with county governments will not allow fresh produce aggregation on roadsides instead; counties should set up raised platforms for the purpose.
In addition, fresh produce shall not be ferried alongside any non-food stuff and shall be transported in a covered and well-ventilated vehicle.
”We have gazzetted 145 enforcement officers to ensure these regulations are adhered to and there are criminal charge sheets for those who will not”, said Harsame Kello.
This comes barely a fortnight after the sector launched the KS1758 quality mark to scale up compliance with quality and safety regulations to set standards.
Stakeholders plan to have all horticultural producer adhere to the mark for all the produce in supermarkets and other structured markets by the end of this year.