by Ronald Njoroge
NAIROBI, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's flower exports are expected to hit 133,000 tonnes in 2017, the same as in 2016, the industry said on Wednesday.
Kenya Flower Council (KFC) CEO Jane Ngige told a media briefing in Nairobi that the export volumes are expected to remain stagnant due to prevailing drought conditions that prompted flower farms to cut back on new investments.
"Due to insufficient rainfall in the key flower-growing regions, we forecast that exports will remain similar to last year," Ngige said.
Government data indicate that in 2016, Kenya exported flowers worth 690 million U.S. dollars representing 70 percent of the total horticulture exports.
Ngige said the European Union remains the key exports market for Kenya flowers and accounts for over 70 percent of all output.
"We are seeking to diversify into new and emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Russia and China," she added. Kenya has continued to experienced growth in its share of the global flower trade in the last decade.
Statistics show that Kenya is contributing over 35 percent of the world flower trade and continues to compete with countries such as Ecuador and Colombia in the world flower business.
In Africa, Kenya is the leading flower grower and exporter, beating other producers such as Ethiopia and Tanzania. Ngige said that flower sector is grappling with rising costs of production.
"We are experiencing increased labor and input costs and so the flower sector has to embrace efficiency measures," she added. Enditem