NAIROBI, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's horticultural export earnings hit 142.7 billion shillings (about 1.37 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, a decline from the 1.47 billion dollars posted in the previous year, an agricultural regulatory body said on Wednesday.
Anthony Muriithi, interim director general of Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), attributed the reduced revenues to a decrease in flower and vegetable exports.
"The decrease in the value of flower exports is mainly due to the fact that the bulk of Kenya's flowers are sold through the auction in Europe and hence low prices," Muriithi said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Horticulture remains Kenya's leading foreign exchange earner, with flowers accounting for about 70 percent of the commodity.
Muriithi observed that flower exports decreased by 8 percent between 2018 and 2019 while the value of vegetables also decreased by 8.3 percent between the same period.
According to AFA, there was a decline in export vegetable production which recorded overseas sales of 695 million dollars in 2019, representing a 26 percent decrease from the previous year.
Muriithi said the value of flower exports has reduced from about 1.1 billion dollars 2018 to 1 billion dollars in 2019 and this was against the fact that the export volumes increased from 161.2 million kilograms in 2018 to 173.7 million kilograms in 2019.
The government data indicates that avocado remains the single highest exported fruit taking 80 percent of the total value of fruits at 101 million dollars in 2019, a slight reduction from 103 million dollars in 2018.
He noted that China has provided an opportunity for processing as frozen avocado and at the moment only one company has met standards to export to the Asian nation.
He revealed that mango remains a crop that has a high potential for exports to other destinations other than the Middle East but the fruit fly remains a challenge.
The agricultural regulator said that value addition on the mango remains lowly tapped through the production of dried mangos, fruit pulp and pickles.
Muriithi noted that reduction in export volumes of vegetables in 2019 can be attributed to adverse weather conditions including drought at the beginning of the year and heavy rains that spoiled the produce. Enditem