Kenya's flower exports hit 993 mln USD in 2020

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-07 18:07:03|Editor: huaxia

A florist goes about her work at City Market in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Nov. 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Charles Onyango)

Kenya's flower exports rose to 993 million U.S. dollars in 2020 compared to 951 million dollars in 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry said.

NAIROBI, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's flower exports hit 108.7 billion shillings (about 993 million U.S. dollars) in 2020 compared to 951 million dollars in 2019, the industry said on Wednesday.

Hosea Machuki, CEO, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi that the country was able to ship approximately 142,000 tons of flowers despite the international travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"One of the drivers for higher revenues was the reduced supply of flowers in the international market that resulted in higher average prices for flowers," Machuki said.

He revealed that exports of flowers were severely impacted between March and May in 2020 as governments around the world tightened international travel restrictions.

"But due to resilience of the flower sector, production was able to resume to normal levels as lockdowns were eased in key export destinations," Machuki added.

He said that despite higher export revenues, the industry's profit margins remained low due to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Higher airfreight charges to deliver goods to overseas markets meant less returns for flower exporters," Machuki added.

According to the industry lobby, more than 70 percent of Kenya's exports are sold in the European Union most of which is sold to consumers through the Dutch flower auction.

"In order to diversify our markets, we are looking at other distribution channels apart from flower auctions that will enable Kenyan flowers to reach overseas consumers," Machuki noted.

He revealed that other markets for Kenyan flowers include the United States, Japan, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates.

He revealed that 95 percent of flowers grown locally are shipped to buyers outside of Kenya.